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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Journal of Josiah Quincy [Extract]
Quincy, Josiah, 1744-1775
March 26, 1773 - April 05, 1773
Volume 09, Pages 610-613

[Reprinted from Memoirs of Josiah Quincy, Jun., p. 117, et seq]
Extracts from the Memoirs of Josiah Quincy.
∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

“Lodged the last night in Brunswick, N. C., at the house of William Hill, Esq., a most sensible, polite gentleman, and though a crown officer, a man replete with sentiments of general liberty, and warmly attached to the cause of American freedom.

March 27th (1773). Breakfasted with Colonel Dry, the collector of the customs, and one of the Council, who furnished me with the following instructions given Governor Martin, and, as Col. Dry told me Governor Martin said, to all the colony governors likewise.”

[See ante page 235.—Editor.]

“March 27th. Colonel Dry is a friend to the Regulators, and seemingly warm against the measures of British and Continental administrations. He gave me an entire different account of things from what I had heard from others. I am now left to form my own opinion, and am preparing for a water tour to Fort Johnston. Yesterday was a most delightful day. Fort Johnston is a delightful situation.

March 28th. I go to church this day at Brunswick; hear W. Hill read prayers; dine with Col. Dry; proceed to-morrow to Wilmington,

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and dine with Dr. Cobham with a select party. Colonel Dry's mansion is justly called the house of universal hospitality.

March 29th. Dine at Dr Thos. Cobham's in company with Harnett, Hooper, Burgwin, Dr Tucker, &c. in Wilmington; lodged also at Dr Cobham's, who has treated me with great politeness, though an utter stranger, and one to whom I had no letters. Spent the evening with the best company of the place.

March 30th. Dined with about twenty at Mr William Hooper's; find him apparently in the Whig interest; has taken their side in the House—is caressed by the Whigs, and is now passing his election through the influence of that party. Spent the night at Mr Harnett's,—the Samuel Adams of North Carolina (except in point of fortune). Robert Howe, Esq., Harnett and myself made the social triumvirate of the evening. The plan of continental correspondence highly relished, much wished for, and resolved upon as proper to be pursued.

April 1st. Set out from Mr Harnett's for Newbern.

April 2nd. Reached Newbern about eleven o'clock A. M. Waited upon Judge Howard and spent about an hour with him.

Did not present the rest of my letters because of the fine weather for travelling, and no Court of any kind sitting or even in being in the province.

Judge Howard waited upon me in the evening with recommendatory letters to Colonel Palmer of Bath, and Colonel Richard Buncombe of Tyrrell County.

April 4th. Reached Bath in the evening, did not deliver my letters, but proceeded next morning to Mr Wingfield's parish, where I spent the Sabbath.

April 5th. Breakfasted with Colonel Buncombe,1 who waited upon me to Edenton Sound, and gave me letters to his friends there. Spent this and the next day in crossing Albemarle Sound and in dining and conversing in company with the most celebrated lawyers of Edenton.

From them I learned that Dr Samuel Cooper of Boston was generally (they said universally) esteemed the author of ‘Leonidas,’ who

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together with ‘Mucius Scaevola,’ was burnt in effigy under the gallows by the common hangman. There being no Courts of any kind in this province, and no laws in force by which any could be held, I found little inclination or incitement to stay long in Edenton, though a pleasant town. Accordingly, a guide offering his directions about evening, I left the place and proceeded just into the bounds of Virginia, where, I lodged the night. The soils and climates of the Carolinas differ, but not so much as their inhabitants. The number of negroes and slaves is much less in North than in South Carolina. Their staple commodity is not so valuable, n[???]t being in so great demand as the rice, indigo &c, of the South. Hence labor becomes more necessary, and he who has an interest of his own to serve is a laborer in the field. Husbandmen and agriculture increase in number and improvement. Industry is up in the woods at tar, pitch, and turpentine; in the fields, ploughing, planting, clearing, or fencing the land. Herds and flocks become more numerous. You see husbandmen, yeomen, and white laborers scattered through the country, instead of herds of negroes and slaves. Healthful countenances and numerous families become more common, as you advance North. Property is much more equally diffused in one province, than in the other, and this may account for some, if not for all the differences of character in the inhabitants. However, in one respect I find a pretty near resemblance between the two Colonies; I mean the state of religion. It is certainly high time to repeal the laws relative to religion, and the observation of the Sabbath, or to see them better executed. Avowed impunity to all offenders is one sign at least, that the laws want amendment or abrogation. Alike as the Carolinas are in this respect, they certainly vary much as to their general sentiments, opinions and judgments. The staple commodities of North Carolina are all kinds of naval stores, Indian corn, hemp, flax seed, some tobacco, which they generally send into Virginia, &c. The culture of wheat and rice is making quick progress, as a spirit of agriculture is rising fast. The favorite liquors of the Carolinas are Claret and Port wines, in preference to Madeira or Lisbon. The commerce of North Carolina is much diffused through the several parts of the province. They in some respects may be said to have no metropolis, though New Bern is called the Capital, as there is the seat of government. It is made a question which carries on the most trade, whether Edenton, New Bern, Wilmington, or Brunswick. It seems to be one of the two first. There is very little
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intercourse between the northern and southern provinces of Carolina. The present state of North Carolina is really curious; there are but five provincial laws in force through the Colony, and no courts at all in being. No one can recover a debt, except before a single magistrate, where the sums are within his jurisdiction, and offenders escape with impunity. The people are in great consternation about the matter; what will be the consequence is problematical.”


1 I have heard an anecdote in North Carolina highly illustrative of the hospitality of Col. Buncombe, which I shall take the liberty to record. On the arch of the outer gate of his mansion was inscribed the following distitch:

“Welcome all
To Buncombe Hall.”