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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Gale to his father
Gale, William
August 05, 1703
Volume 22, Pages 732-735

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Hon’d Father:

Y’rs rec’d off Feb. 18th, 1702-3, ye 30th off July, 1703, w’ch gives me an Acc’t off ye Recp’t off my first L’re (as y’u call itt). I am sorry Fortune has laid me open to ye censure off such Ingratitude to soe Indulgent a Fath’r by ye miscarriage of att least 4tres from divers ports, one off w’ch came P. Mr. Burton, along with Cos’n Betty’s, dated at Riquotan, upon James River, Virg’a. I cood wish Bro. Miles were w’th me Just now, for Tomorrow’s light I sett out upon an Indian Voiage, in ord’r to followe a shallop’s load off Indian goods, w’ch I sent away about 2 Months agoe for Cape Fare River, w’ch Voiage wood make him an expert Carolina Coaster, & Inure him soe far to ye Customes & language off ye Heathen, as to make him a well qualify’d Ind. Trader, by w’ch Imploym’t (si adest fortune, & fortune Comes Indubitatus Fortitudo) he may secure for himselfe a Comfortable being in ye world. Iff he comes, he shall not want Imploym’t, butt I wood advice y’u to lett him marry before he comes away, provided he can marry a Fortune that wood encounter ye dangers off ye Atlantick Ocean, one penny in England is 3 w’th us, iff well laid out, & iff he cood butt bring w’th him 2 or 300ll. w’th a wife, I cood putt him in ye way to live as happy as ye day is long. Marriage att ye best is butt a happy or unhappy chance (audaces Fortuna Juvat). All sorts of English goods are here verry valuable, Especially Nails, Carpenters’ Tools, Hows, Axes, all sorts off linings, powder & shott, hatts, stockings & what else is requisite to make a sortable store. I had like to have come to some trouble by sending Mr. Burton home from his pretended Master (w’ch I did out off Respect to his Fath’r & Moth’r, seeing him in y’t miserable condicon), butt I did not want Friends in these American desarts, to repay him in his owne Coine, haveing ye favour off soe hon’ble a Friend as his Excl’y off Virg’a. I am hearty sorry to heare Cos’n Pen is made a Freewoman off America, few off ye naturals or natives off ye Country (wheth’r y’u’l call ’em) but sooner or later having ye hon’r to be salivated. The distemp’r operates as ye lues veneria, & is an utter

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Enimy to Noses. Yett experience says itt is not ye same, nor does it come by ye same means, for I know Children att ye breast y’t have itt, & their parents Free from distemp’r or staine in their reputation. As for my owne p’t (consideratis considerandis), I think my self Infinitely oblig’d to divine providence for its distinguishing favours. I had a Verry kind, tho’ severe seasoning, w’ch deprived me off ye happinesse I hope ere long to Enjoy (Viz’t, ye conversation off my friends). Att pres’t, have my health verry well, am in some Esteem among my sup’rs, & enjoy what is nescesary. Our greatest grievance is want off Books & pleasing Conversation, next to y’t off ye immense distance betwixt y’u & us, butt (fiat voluntas divina) nor absence nor distance shall Impaire my gratefull Resentm’ts for y’r Indulgence, tho’ by ye former I am soe unhapily remov’d from ye occations off manifesting ye latter.

As to an Acc’t off our Country (shall refer itt till our meeting, & hope by that time to be as capable off doeing itt as any in ye Goverm’t as to what relates to ye Heathen & ye desarts they Inhabit. Roanoke is ye place off my pres’t settlem’t, off w’ch as to ye state of Religion I wish I cood give a more laudible charact’r. The Quakers are here verry numerous, butt as for Independant Anabaptists, Presbeterians & oth’r sectarys, they have little or noe place here. Most who profess themselves D’rs & Atturneys are Scandalls to their profession. Impudence & notorious Impertinence make up their Charact’r. Itt were to be wish’d that ye Rev’d Clergy had more encouragem’t, especially respectu officis from ye lives & conversations off ye people. The Decay off Christian piety is in such large Characters y’t he y’t runs may read. The 2d off Jan. last It pleas’d God to make me happy in a Son, who beares ye name off his Grandfath’r, butt he’s still ye unhapinesse to be unchristned, to my great greeife. The onely Minist’r we have had off ye Ch. off E. haveing left us before my Son was borne, butt (ipso facto) itt was noe loss to Religion, for he was ye Monster off ye Age. Ab’t 2 months agoe we had a New Gov’r from Ashly River, one Coll’ll Daniell, by whose pious endeav’rs Religion & learning, &c. (I hope) may flourish. He promises verry faire.

What Rarity’s y’s Country affords I shall be M’r off att my returne, being bound a foure Months’ voiage or Travell (w’n we can goe noe furth’r by Water), as far to ye W’tw’d as ye Appelachin Mountains, to settle an Indian Trade, for w’ch I engag’d in partnership

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in 100ll. bond. Iff things proceed well, I shall see England (Deo volente) next Summer, but dare not promise; iff I come, I come.

Iff Henry Ramsbottam was here & wood worke, he might live a Companion for ye best; his trade wood bring him in 2 0 (sic.) 300ll. P. Ann. 100ll. Oth’rs might doe verry well.

I rec’d Heylin’s Cosmography, &c., att Cos’n Barugh’s, and gave y’u an Acc’t off it from on board ye Nickolson in ye Downes.

Not long agoe a Young Gent. y’t lives in ye house w’th me was in Kappahanock Riv’r, Virg’a, where he tells me he heard of foure or 5 off our Name, most off ’em M’rs off ships from ye No. parts off England, butt he had noe opportunity off seeing y’m. I shood gladly have gone soe far to have seen ’em, butt (prout ante) I am otherways Ingag’d. He desired one Coll’ll Corber to know iff they were any ways Related to me, butt ye Coll’ll told him he cood not find they were, or y’t they knew any thing of me, only they were sensible of one Family of their Name in ye No. to which they did not know butt I might belong. Mr. Eser Gale & sev’ll off ye name live in N. Engl’d. I have freq’t Correspondence by L’res from Boston, sometimes trading to those parts, butt have noe knowledge off ye Gale’s onely by oth’rs. I hope ere long to see N. England.

Whitehaven ships are noe good way to send to me by, we haveing noe Commerce in to those parts where they freq’t, unlesse by chance. London ships are ye best, & bound for Yorke River, whith’r I trade, & have a settled Correspondence. Yo’r safest way will be to direct for me as before, to be left w’th Mr. John Bates, Merch’t, upon Skimino Creek in York River, Virg’a. He will be very carefull off any thing y’u send, & he’s ye best opportunity off sending into our parts, by reason off his receiving Consignments from me. Bro. Blighton, P. whome y’r last was directed, w’ch came saife, is dead, & my sister marry’d againe.

As to what y’u desire to know off ye Ind’s, some are Civil & some barbarous, they using ye Seabord. They live in small Townes and barke Cabbins, pallisado’d in w’th 2 or 3 Rows of Stakes; every Towne or nation hes its perticular King & different language; they have some notion of ye Flood, butt verry obscure. They offer ye First Fruits of every thing they eat to ye Devil, by whome they cure deseases & act severall strainge things, as laying ye wind, &c. Ye nations I am as yett acquainted with are, the Portes, Leites, Nazimumbs,

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Choans, Maherins, Pampticoughs, Bay Rivers, Marchipooongs, News Rivers, Cores, Corennines, Connamocksocks, w’th all w’ch (ye Cores & Corennines excepted) & ye Tuscaroorays, have verry Free commerce w’th. To write every perticular custome, &c., requires Volums, so must refer itt till furth’r opportunity.

I give y’u many thanks for y’r Care in my businesse, & hope (iff itt succeed) to have power to retalliate itt. Iff any of our Country be minded to Travel I will be as serviceable to ’em as I can; soe with my humble service to all where due, w’th our kind love to all my Relations, Bro’s & Sist’rs, &c., & duty to y’r self & Moth’r. Feareing I shood grow tedious, I must subscribe myself,

Y’r ever dutifull Son & Serv’t,

Aug’t 5th, 1703. From Perquimans River, in ye County of Albemarle, No. Carolina.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: This letter may have been written by Christopher Gale to his father Miles Gale. The letter writer mentions a brother Miles, talks about the Indian trade, and writes that he just had a son named after the son's grandfather (Christopher married in 1702 and his eldest son was named Miles). We have found no other evidence of anyone named William Gale being in North Carolina at this time.