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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Memorial of Charles Garth as agent for South Carolina concerning the North Carolina/South Carolina boundary
Garth, Charles, ca. 1734-1784
Volume 08, Pages 564-573

To The Right Honble The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.

The Memorial of the Agent for His Majesty's Province of South Carolina,


That His Majesty having by an Instruction to the Governors of South and North Carolina in the year one thousand seven hundred

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and sixty three signified his Pleasure that a temporary Boundary Line should be run between those Provinces limiting its extent at the Catawba Lands a Line has been run, altho' in point of latitude erroneous. South Carolina Settlements being now very numerous and extended very far to the westward of those Lands it is become highly necessary and expedient that a certain known line of jurisdiction should be ascertained; which having been under the consideration of both colonies, a difference in Opinion renders an appeal to his Majesty's Royal Will and Pleasure necessary not only to declare but to adjust its Extent. The strong and political Reasons as well as the equitable Pretensions which the Government of South Carolina has to offer in behalf of an Extent of Northern Boundary have been with great weight set forth in a Report by his Majesty's Council for this Province to their Governor and is now before your Lordships, but upon a matter of such great moment and concern to his constituents your Memorialist hopes to be excused in thinking it his Duty further to submit to your Lordship such remarks and observations as have occurred to him upon the subject, he must therefore beg leave to recall your Lordship's attention to the ancient and natural boundary and to certain occurrences since whereby to render the present or any interposition of His Majesty necessary to be solicited in order to the Ascertainment of a Boundary line at all between these Provinces, and which will at the same time strongly mark the just pretensions of South Carolina to the line of jurisdiction they humbly petition His Majesty to establish by His royal Order: Cape Fear river dividing the Provinces of South and North Carolina nearly in a Northwest direction bounding North Carolina to the Southwest and South Carolina to the North East is well known to have been the ancient boundary, by that river the authority of Government and Exercise of Jurisdiction were respectively limited in each of these Provinces, the jurisdiction of the judges used by their commission to be so far extended. The Expences of Government annually increasing became so heavy a burthen at a time that the inhabitants of South Carolina who were as yet but few in number and their settlements Northward extended little farther than Santee river, that in order to avoid payment of Taxes and to be in a situation on account of its distance beyond the reach of Process, sundry persons with their families removed up to the South banks of Cape Fear River, The Settlements of these people called the Brunswick Settlements
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encreasing, it became necessary that they should be under the actual authority of Government, and they themselves being solicitous to be included within the Government of North Carolina, His late Majesty in one thousand seven hundred and thirty was pleased to direct another boundary for the two Provinces, yet carrying in view the antient and natural one of Cape Fear River, and was graciously pleased to be so attentive to the jurisdiction of South Carolina, that (the necessity of the case requiring the People of Brunswick, become numerous, should be under practical as well as legal Government) the royal Will was so particularly adapted to the local circumstances of this settlement, that in annexing it to North Carolina the Instruction took care that the Province of South Carolina should not be limited in its antient boundary to more than thirty miles at most Southerly distance from the whole course of Cape Fear River from the Sea upwards to its main source or head, and from thence due west as far as the South Seas, but if Wagaman river should be within thirty miles, then that river to be the boundary &c.”

The Commissioners authorized by each Province in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty five run a boundary line as far west as seventy or eighty miles from the sea, but His Majesty not having directed any degree of latitude to be taken, only a line parallel to Cape Fear river, the Commissioners differed in opinion upon the construction of the King's instruction and proceeded no farther, and indeed no line was run in exact conformity to that Instruction; since when Pretences of uncertainty of jurisdiction urged under sanction of his late Majesty's interposition in one thousand seven hundred and thirty have been set up in excuse for non payment of quit rents to the Crown or of Taxes to the Province; representations of which and of the mischiefs and confusion subsisting for want of a certain known line of jurisdiction having been transmitted to England, whereby His present Majesty taken under consideration, who in one thousand seven hundred and sixty three was pleased to order an instruction for a temporary line, therein directing “that the line in part set out by the Commissions in one thousand seven hundred and thirty five which if not marked so far North as to the thirty fifth degree to be continued in the same direction to the said thirty fifth degree and from thence due west to the Eastern limits of the lands claimed by the Catawba Indians &c” in one thousand seven hundred and sixty four the

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Commissioners appointed proceeded, but by some mistake in the observation of latitude the Commissioners stopped short of the thirty-fifth degree, viz; at 34, 49'' eleven miles south of the thirty fifth degree and a loss to South Carolina of near six hundred and sixty square miles, and from this point they ran the line due west to the Salisbury Road near Catawba River. To the detriment to the Province from this Error His Majesty's Subjects in South Carolina are inclined to submit, tho' they conceive in point of equity they have a claim to have the error rectyfied for a line to be run agreeable to the Instructions, but they trust if waving that right hitherto least any inconveniences might arise to His Majesty's Government from a renewed state of uncertainty of Jurisdiction in those parts, it will have its proper weight with His Majesty, instead of being made the occasion of a much heavier loss, which a line continued due west from the Point at Salisbury Road near Catawba River as applied for on the part of North Carolina would certainly prove, the Province in such case would lose in the whole more land out of their Jurisdiction (and land of the greatest importance from the nature of the soil, situation and other material considerations) than any two of the middling counties in England. The reasons for such a line on the part of North Carolina it is presumed are substantially answered by His Majesty's Council of South Carolina in the Report above alluded to, but it may not be improper to observe farther upon the Proposition stated as a reason for such a Line “because by an Act passed last Session in North Carolina. All that Tract of land to the Westward of the Catawba River is formed into a County by the name of Tryon County with Provisions for Courts &c. within that County” that therefore this line should be continued. The Council have in their report very properly observed the reasons why South Carolina forbore any attempts of Jurisdiction in those parts, dutifully waiting the Royal Pleasure to be first signified to both Colonies, conceiving the actual ascertaining of the bounds of Jurisdiction to be solely an exercise of Royal Prerogative, while North Carolina is urging a Trespass upon that Prerogative as a Title with your Lordships for His Majesty's confirmation of the infringement. But further the claims of the Catawba Indians to the Lands bordering upon the Catawbas have not been unknown to His Majesty, and therefore in the instruction of one thousand seven hundred and sixty three he was not only pleased to confine his Orders for a line to be run to the east side of the Catawbas
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only, but expressly declares it to be his will and pleasure that no settlement whatever be made nor the Jurisdiction of either Province exercised upon any Lands claimed by the said Indians, until the said claims shall be finally adjusted, before therefore a reason had been drawn by North Carolina, from a Jurisdiction so recently and unjustifiably established, it should seem to have been the part of that Colony to have first shewn that since the date of those instructions all claims between the Catawba Indians and that Colony had been finally and authoritatively adjusted; on the other hand South Carolina from respect and regard to His Majesty's Prerogative and Commands signified in the Instruction (notwithstanding the trespasses committed by North Carolina Surveyors as complained of by the back settlers to the Governor and Council of South Carolina) desisted from any actual exercise of Jurisdiction, and yet by a latitude of Construction they might have thought themselves well warranted; the Catawba Indians have agreed with South Carolina whither they have ever had recourse upon complaints of injuries from white men) and consented to contract their claim of lands, (where their numerous ancestors had long resided) to a spot of fifteen miles square on condition of building within that spot a stockaded Fort for the security of their women and children, which was accordingly and fully complied with; previous to which agreement it is to be further observ'd that South Carolina Government in obedience to former commands of the Crown that the Catawba Indians should receive no molestation in their hunting grounds surrounding their Towns, had by order of Council reserv'd the lands thirty miles on all sides from their Towns as a District not to be granted to any Person or Persons whatsoever; notwithstanding these circumstances as to any exercise of Jurisdiction on the lands ceded without the limits of the fifteen miles square further than keeping up and maintaining the numberless Forts belonging to this Province in the Lands adjoining and westward of the Catawbas as directed by the said Instruction South Carolina waits His Majesty's positive pleasure to be signify'd upon the ascertaining a final Boundary.

The reason suggested from the expence North Carolina has been put to in running a western Frontier will appear to have less weight if possible than the last taken notice of, for whatever the expence has been (at most it seems two thousand pounds) it was incurr'd without the Privity of South Carolina, and not without knowledge of the claims of this Province to entire jurisdiction over the lands

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lying to the westward of the Catawba antient territories, but if expence was to be a reason of any weight, it will preponderate far in favour of South Carolina, for besides former expences the Province has been put to for surveys of this Country, a recent one to the amount of three thousand pounds sterling appears in Payment to Mr Cook to make a perfect and more compleat survey for the better ascertaining a proper final line of jurisdiction, in addition to such the expence of building and maintaining numberless Forts beyond and within the Catawba Lands is no trivial Article, and it is to be remarked that Fort London at Tannissee in the Upper and Fort Prince George at Keowee in the lower Cherokee Country, were built & compleated and lately effectually repaired at a very large expence in obedience to the immediate commands of the Crown to this Province, commands that import strong evidence of Jurisdiction, and yet almost every one of the Forts would, if the application of North Carolina was to take place, fall within the boundary of that Province, so that upon the Principle of their reason for that such Frontier would fall into South Carolina; South Carolina presumes the argument infinitely stronger on her part, for that such Forts with all the great expenses incurred on account of such forts, surveys & agreements with the Catawbas will be lost to this Province and fall into North Carolina—But my Lords, it is of consideration in the case in question, that if the line had been run up to thirty fifth degree instead of stopping short at 34° 49' as is undoubtedly the case, the due west line would then have terminated at the North Eastern instead of South Eastern limits of the Catawba country; from whence it would have been but a small distance round the North of the Catawba Nation to the North Branch of the Catawba River, and in that case there is scarce a doubt but that River would appear the proper the natural and the certain line for a boundary between the two Provinces (upon such Principle Wacaman river if within thirty miles of Cape Fear was mentioned in the instruction of one thousand seven hundred and thirty) preventing the innumerable difficulties that occur in surveying and marking out a line through the woods, or, in the case of settled Countries the inconveniencies in ascertaining Quit rents, Taxes & Taxables, and effectually putting an end to all possible disputes as well of a private as a publick nature. Extraordinary then indeed would the case of South Carolina be, should His Majesty order a line to be continued due west and from a Point erroneously taken
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and therefore not in conformity to his intention appearing in the instruction, when so clear and easy a boundary offers, had the observation of Latitude been justly and truly set out; but it is impossible to suppose that, already suffering greatly from the error committed His Majesty can be advised to direct a continuation of an erroneous line to the still more manifest loss and detriment to a Province whose Pretensions to Jurisdiction over that District have almost everything in its favour, but the strict letter of a positive Law. To these considerations there are others proper to be submitted to your Lordships attention, pointed out to the Governor as they are in the report, they will doubtless have their due weight with this Board; The spirit of industry in the cultivation and improvement of Lands in South Carolina does evidently appear from the great increase of the imports and exports, and which must mark a Province more or less in a flourishing condition, of ability and disposition to improve and cultivate lands, the great advantages of which the Mother Country must reap & must therefore ever be an important object of her attention; Bounties have been repeatedly given by the Legislature of South Carolina to encourage the culture of Lands and many of the settlers living upon Broad river and in the Lands westward of the Catawbas have received Bounties for Hemp Naval Stores &c, supplying therefrom the markets of Charleston with Corn Flour Lumber &c, to throw these Lands & People under another Government from that which they conceive themselves within & have derived considerable benefits from, is deserving serious attention, such a step might give a fatal check to cultivation, especially as the advantages now reaped by these settlers of sending their produce to the Charles Town Market by means of rivers and streams at an infinite less expence than by waggons and carriages would probably over balance all similar encouragements from North Carolina, was that Colony disposed to give them, for if annexed to North Carolina the produce must be carried to the public marts within that Province and chiefly by Waggons and Cattle; whereas the cheapness of carriage by means of streams and rivers has been a principal inducement with the Governors and Council of South Carolina to have ordered for many years back (previous to the instruction of one thousand seven hundred and sixty three) Grants of land upon the upper branches of Broad river to be made out to the poor voluntary European Settlers imported at the expense of the Province, under whose protection
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these people have greatly throve, have long lived and are desirous to continue; it cannot escape your Lordship's observation, the injustice in such a case, if after many years' experience of Land granted by this Government to the Persons imported at the expense of the People, and which was always to be of lands within the Province, South Carolina should now find, without any former interruption to such Grants coming from Great Britain, but simply of care and caution with respect to Lands claimed by the Indians, may after as it were tacit acknowledgements of their Title by the repeated requisitions touching Forts and particularly London and Prince George at Kewohee, that these Letters notwithstanding the expenses incurred for their Passages and in enabling and encouraging them to succeed as they have in the cultivation of their settlements, at the time they are becoming useful inhabitants of the Colony, are not to belong to or to be within the jurisdiction of the Colony; losing at the same time a great and principal object of the expense, that of peopling this Colony with white men, and which is a standing Article of Instruction to the Govrs to recommend in the strongest terms to the Assembly for their better defence & protection against the danger of insurrections of the Negroes; whose numbers must continually increase with an increase of their important commercial staple commodities, to the great advantage and emolument of Great Britain as well as of the Colony. The great disproportion there is between the white men and Negroes in South Carolina (but totally the reverse in North Carolina) must render the former less formidable to a foreign or an indian enemy; in case of hostilities an exertion of their whole strength is absolutely necessary as well to oppose the enemy as to prevent their slaves from revolt, the aid of the inhabitants settled upon the upper parts of Broad river, Catawba, Pacolet and other streams, not only from the addition of their numbers but from the advantage of the stockaded Forts among them, has been found of infinite service, and in such exigencies the Province could not defend itself without, but such aid is not to be procured unless those inhabitants & Forts are subject to and within the immediate authority of this Government as well as within the influence of their Militia Laws; further if its North western Frontier was to be reduced as by the limited Boundary proposed, your Lordship need not to be reminded of the weak and defenceless condition this flourishing Colony must also be reduced to; Savannah River would nearly intersect the line, the Province be formed into a triangle, few or no back
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settlements, the strength therefrom loped off, and sequestered from it. Of what consequence also it might be if the long established communication between this Colony and the different Tribes of Indians (who have in most cases used this Government as the medium between His Majesty & them, who here principally prefer their complaints, renew Treaties and negociate their other concerns, and where their Policy & their Conexions are by long usage and frequent valuable Presents well known and understood) was to be diverted into another channel is submitted to your Lordships wisdom. Your Lordships well know that His Majesty in His Instructions to the Governors of South Carolina does particularly enjoyn them to use all possible ways and means to preserve a good correspondence with the Indians on their Frontiers, but especially with the Cherokee Indians inhabiting the Mountains on the North West side of the said Province of South Carolina. The utility and service to, as well as the Friendship constantly manifested by the Catawba Indians in particular for the Province of South Carolina, is so justly represented by His Majesty's Council, that the expediency and reasonableness of comprehending these faithful allies within South Carolina Boundary it is hoped will meet with your Lordship's entire approbation and support with His Majesty.

Your Memorialist will conclude with barely suggesting the great inconveniences to private persons on account of Grants of Lands, Titles by mesne Conveyances, Wills, Testaments, Mortgages &c. all recorded in the Offices of South Carolina, their Lands cut in two, Part in one Province and the Houses and other Part in the other, Disputes upon the Liquidation of Taxes and Quit Rents and in levying executions: was the line of one thousand seven hundred and sixty four ending at the Salisbury Road to be continued due west thro' the Woods, all which will be much lessened if not entirely avoided by the natural boundary offered on the part of South Carolina as set forth in the close of the said Report, and which for the several reasons assigned.

Your Memorialist prays that your Lordship will take under consideration and be pleased to recommend an Instruction for continuing a line Northerly from the point where the line of one thousand seven hundred and sixty four ended at the Salisbury Road along the said Road to the Catawba Lands, and then easterly, northerly and westerly around and along the line bounding the Catawba Lands surveyed in one thousand seven hundred and sixty three till

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it intersects the Catawba River and then to proceed along the North or main Branch of the Catawba River to its source in the Cherokee Mountains.