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Secretary North Carolina Historical Commission 







Copyright, 1919 




T HE NEW yr 


Sir Walter Raleigh 
The Founder of English-speaking America 


In the preparation of this volume, I have approached the 
history of North Carolina somewhat from a different point of 
view from that adopted by the historians of this period of our 
history who have preceded me. My purpose has been to bring 
out more fully than has heretofore been attempted the rela- 
tions of North Carolina to the British Empire in America of 
which it was a part. Those incidents, therefore, in our colo- 
nial history in which North Carolina participated in Conti- 
nental affairs have been more fully stressed than has been the 
custom with our historians, while others of purely local inter- 
est and importance which they have set forth in detail have 
been but briefly told or omitted altogether. The plan adopted 
made necessary, of course, the rejection of the chronological 
order in narrating historical incidents and movements. 

These volumes are long overdue and my colleagues and I 
feel that it is but right to say that the publishers are in no way 
responsible for the delay. Like everybody else during the 
past two years we have been constantly interrupted and di- 
verted from our w^ork by numerous extra duties incident to 
the crisis through which our country has been passing, so that 
it has been impossible to complete these three volumes of nar- 
rative history within the time originally set for their publica- 
tion. To the publishers who have done everything possible 
to facilitate our work and have displayed the utmost patience 
at the delay, we are under many obligations. 

To Colonel Fred A. Olds I am under obligations for inval- 
uable assistance in securing illustrations for this volume. 

Raleigh, North Carolina, R. D. W. Connor. 

May 16th, 1919. 


I dedicate this book 

to mp fatfjer 


because it was he who first aroused my interest in the 
history of North Carolina; because by his own life, 
character and public services he has added dignity 
and honor to the annals of the State ; and because in 
himself he personifies that reverence for the laws and 
institutions of democracy, that love of justice, and that 
faith in the common man which I believe to be char- 
acteristic of the people of this Commonwealth. 


The Beginnings of English-America 1 

Explorations and Settlement 21 

The Proprietary Government 32 

Wars and Rebellions 47 

Growth and Expansion 64 

The C ary Rebellion 84 

Indian Wars of 1711-1715 100 


Problems of Reconstruction Ill 





The Passing of the Proprietary 124 

English and Scotch-Highlanders on the Cape Fear 143 


The Coming of the Scotch-Irish and Germans 162 

Society, Religion and Education 180 

Political and Constitutional Controversies 210 

Inter-Colonial and Imperial Relations 239 

Colonial Wars 258 

Westward Expansion 287 

The War of the Regulation 302 

The Stamp Act and the Continental Association 321 


Downfall of the Royal Government 338 



Committees of Safety 354 

The Provincial Council 367 

Independence 389 

The Independent State 411 

Military Problems 437 

The War in the South 455 

The Invasion of 1780-1781 475 


Peace 495 

Bibliography 503 

History of North Carolina 


The first European who is known to have visited, explored 
and described the coast of North Carolina was Giovanni da 
Verrazzano, a Florentine navigator in the service of France. 
Some writers, it is true, suppose that the Cabots preceded 
Verrazzano to this region by more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury; but the voyages of the Cabots are involved in so much 
obscurity, and present so many points for controversy, that it 
is impossible to ascertain with any degree of certainty just 
what parts of North America they visited. Verrazzano, on 
the contrary, left a long and detailed account of his voyage. 
His purpose, like that of the other explorers of his time, was 
to find a westward route to Cathay [China]. "With a crew of 
fifty men, well provided with "victuals, weapons, and other 
ship munition" for an eight-months' voyage, he set sail in 
the ship Dauphine, January 24, 1524, from a "dishabited 
rocke by the isle of Madera." After a long and stormy 
voyage, and when in the thirty-fourth parallel of latitude, he 
reached a low-lying coast, "a newe land," he declared, "never 
before scene of any man either ancient or moderne." 

Verrazzano 's landfall was off the coast of what is now North 
Carolina near Cape Fear. Turning northward, and occasion- 
ally sending his men ashore, he skirted the Atlantic coast as 
far as Newfoundland ; thence he set sail for France, and cast 
anchor in the harbor of Dieppe early in July. At Dieppe on 
July 8, 1524, he wrote and dispatched to the king, Francis I, 
"the earliest description known to exist of the shores of the 
United States." His observations on the people and the 
country, all the circumstances considered, are remarkably ac- 
curate and enlightening. Although his discoveries led to no 
settlements, nevertheless they form an important link in the 

Vol. I— 1 1 


chain of evidence that was slowly revealing to Europe the 
truth about the New World; and as his report was included in 
Hakluyt's ''Divers Voyages," in 1582, it probably was not 
without influence upon Sir Walter Raleigh in the formulation 
of his plans for planting English colonies in America. 

The marvelous deeds by which Raleigh and his associates— 
a group of brilliant soldiers, sailors, adventurers, and scholars 
—laid the foundation of England's vast colonial empire, found 
their inspiration in loyalty to the Crown and country, love of 
liberty, and devotion to religion. At various times in English 
history an attack on any one of these sentiments has been 
sufficient to call forth the mightiest exertions of the English 
nation ; during the closing years of the sixteenth century all 
three were attacked at one and the same time by one and the 
same arrogant power. Philip II of Spain, proclaiming Eliza- 
beth of England an usurper, had laid claim to her throne, and 
throughout his boundless dominions had levied and equipped 
mighty fleets and armies for the purpose of establishing the 
despotism of Castile by overthrowing the liberties of England. 
The Pope of Rome had commissioned His Most Catholic 
Majesty to lead a crusade against the national church of Eng- 
land and "to inaugurate on English soil the accursed work of 
the Inquisition." As one man, without regard to religious 
convictions or sectarian prejudices, the English people sprang 
to the defence of the throne, the Constitution, and the Church 
with an enthusiasm that stirs our blood even to this day. 

In this contest with Spain, says an eminent American his- 
torian, England was "pitted against the greatest military 
power that had existed in Europe since the days of Constan- 
tine the Great. ' ' The source of Spain 's power was her colonial 
possessions whence she drew the treasure that enabled her 
to fit out and maintain the armaments with which she 
threatened England's existence as an independent power. 
"For England the true policy was limited by circumstances. 
She could send troops across the Channel to help the Dutch 
in their stubborn resistance [to Spanish rule], but to try to 
land a force in the Spanish peninsula for aggressive warfare 
would be sheer madness. The shores of America and the open 
sea were the proper field of war for England. Her task was 
to paralyze the giant by cutting off his supplies and in this 
there was hope of success, for no defensive fleet, however 
large, could watch all Philip's enormous possessions at once." 
It was as the storehouse of the enemy's treasure and the source 


of his supplies that America first excited real interest among 
the English people. 1 

The man who best understood England's problem was 
Walter Raleigh. Hawkins, Grenville, Drake, Cavendish, and 
those other glorious English "sea kings" of the sixteenth 
century, understood it well enough so far as it involved the 
ravaging of Spanish coasts and the plundering of Spanish 
treasure ships. But Raleigh understood that something more 
permanent was needed to establish the supremacy of England 
in Europe and America. It was not enough for English states- 
manship to destroy the power of Spain; it must at the same 
time build up the power of England, and as a step toward 
this end, Raleigh conceived the policy of establishing English 
colonies in North America. Such colonies would not only off- 
set the Spanish settlements in the West Indies, Mexico, and 
South America, and serve as bases of operations against them ; 
they would also develop English commerce and afford an out- 
let for English manufactures. All this the far-seeing mind 
of Raleigh perceived in his great design. The work of Haw- 
kins and Drake, of Grenville and Cavendish, and their fellow 
sea-rovers, though of great importance in the accomplish- 
ment of England's destiny, was destructive; Raleigh's work 
was constructive in the highest degree, and entitles him to 
first place among those who won North America for English- 
speaking peoples. 

The first steps which Raleigh took toward carrying his 
great scheme into execution were in conjunction with his half- 
brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert. In November, 1577, some one 
presented Queen Elizabeth with "A discourse how Her 
Majesty may annoy the Kinge of Spaine by fitting out a fleet 
of shippes of war under pretence of Letters Patent, to dis- 
cover and inhabit strange places, with special proviso, for 
their safeties whom policy requires to have most annoyed — 
by which means the doing the contrary shall be imputed to the 
executor's fault; your Highness 's letters patent being a mani- 
fest show that it was not your Majesty's pleasure so to have 
it." The writer offered to destroy the great Spanish fleets 
which went every year to the banks of Newfoundland to catch 
fish for the Spanish fast days. "If you will let us do this," 
he continued, "we will next take the West Indies from Spain. 
You will have the gold and silver mines and the profit of the 
soil. You will be monarch of the seas and out of danger from 
every one. I will do it if you will allow me ; only you must 

1 Fiske: Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. I, pp. II and 22. 


resolve and not delay or dally — the wings of man's life are 
plumed with the feathers of death." There is no signature 
tothis letter, but the same idea is expressed in several places 
by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and historians believe this to be 
his. At any rate within less than a year Gilbert obtained 
letters patent for planting an English colony in America, with 
"special proviso" that there should be no robbing "by sea 
or by land." In the fall of 1578 Gilbert sailed with a fleet 
of seven ships, one of which was commanded by Walter 
Raleigh; but a fight with Spaniards compelled the fleet to 
put back into Plymouth. Five years later Gilbert sailed again, 
but this time without Raleigh, "for the Queen's mind had been 
full of forebodings and she had refused to let him go." The 
unhappy ending of this voyage is one of the most dramatic 
episodes in American history. 

In 1584 Gilbert's patent was renewed in Raleigh's name. 
By this patent, dated March 25, 1584, Raleigh was given "free 
liberty & license * to discover, search, finde out, and 

view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, contreis, and 
territories, not actually possessed of any Christian prince, 
nor inhabited by Christian people." Two provisions of 
Raleigh's charter deserve especial mention. One declared 
the colonists "shall and may have all the privileges of free 
Denizens, and persons native of England, and within our 
allegiance in such like ample manner and forme, as if they 
were borne and personally resident within our said Realme 
of England, any law, customs, or usage to the contrary not- 
withstanding. " The other provision authorized Raleigh, his 
heirs and assigns to enact such laws as they judged proper for 
the government of the colony provided only such laws were 
not inconsistent with the laws of England. 

Raleigh was prompt to take advantage of his patent. Within 
less than a month he had an expedition ready to sail for 
America under the command of two experienced navigators, 
Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow. They sailed from the 
west coast of England April 27, 1584, "with two barkes well 
furnished with men and victuals." A voyage of sixty-seven 
days brought them, July 2, to "shole water, wher," they said, 
"we smelt so sweet, and so strong a smel, as if we had bene 
in the midst of some delicate garden abounding with all kinde 
of odoriferous flowers, by which we were assured, that the 
land could not be f arre distant : and keeping good watch, and 
bearing but slacke saile, the fourth of the same moneth we 
arrived upon the coast, which we supposed to be a continent 
and firme lande, and we sayled along the same a hundred and 


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The Arrival of the English in "Virginia" 
(Roanoke Island) 

From the De Bry Engravings 'of the John Wiiite Paintings, 1590 


twentie English miles before we could finde any entrance, or 
river issuing into the Sea. The first that appeared to us, we 
entred, though not without some difficultie, & cast anker about 
three harquebuz-shot within the havens mouth, on the left 
hand of the same: and after thankes given to God for our 
safe arrival thither, we manned our boats, and went to view 
the land next adjoining, and to take possession of the same, in 
the right of the Queenes most excellent Majestie, as rightfull 
Queene, and Princesse of the same, and after delivered the 
same over to your [Raleigh's] use, according to her Majesties 
grant, and letters patent, under her Highnesse great scale." 
These important proceedings were performed " according to 
the ceremonies used in such enterprises." 

The purpose of Amadas and Barlow was to explore the 
country and fix upon a site for the first settlement. Imme- 
diately after the ceremony of taking possession they "viewed 
the land" about them, which they found "very sandie and low 
towards the waters side. * We passed from the Sea 

side towardes the toppes of those hilles next adjoining, 
being but of meane higth, and from thence wee behelde the 
Sea on both sides to the North, and to the South, finding no 
ende any of both waves." A few days later Barlow, with 
seven of his crew, "went twentie miles" across the sound, 
"and the evening following," he said, "wee came to an 
Island which they [the natives] call Roanoak, distant from 
the Harbour by which we entered, seven leagues: * 
Beyond this Island there is the maine lande. * 
When we first had sight of this countrey, some thought the 
first land we saw to bee the continent: but after we entered 
into the Haven, we saw before us another mighty long Sea: 
for there lyeth along the coast a tracte of Island, two hun- 
dreth miles in length, adjoyning to the Ocean sea : 
when you entred betweene them then there ap- 

peareth another great Sea : and in this inclosed 

Sea there are above an hundreth Islands of divers bignesses, 
whereof one is sixteene miles long, at which we were, finding 
it a most pleasant and fertile ground. Besides this 

Island there are many, as I have sayd, most beauti- 

ful and pleasant to behold." 

The visitors seemed to think they had reached a veritable 
paradise. Their report glowed with enthusiasm for the new 
country and its people. The "soile" was "the most plentiful, 
sweete, fruitful! and wholesome of all the world." There 
were "above fourteene severall sweete smelling timber trees," 
while the "underwoods," were mostly of "Baves and such 


like." They found the same "okes" as grew in Europe "but 
farre greater and better." In the woods grew "the highest 
and reddest Cedars of the world." The island was "so full 
of grapes as the very beating and surge of the Sea overflowed 
them," and they were "in such plenty * both on the 

sand and on the greene soile on the hills, as in the plaines, as 
well as on every little shrubbe, as also climing towardes the 
tops of high Cedars" that in "all the world the like abun- 
dance ' ' could not be found. As the men strolled down the coast 
"such a flock of Cranes (the most part white) arose under" 
them "with such a cry redoubled by many ecchoes as if an 
armie of men had showted all together." The island "had 
many goodly woodes full of Deere, Conies, Hares, and Fowle, 
* in incredible abundance;" while the waters were 
alive "with the goodliest and best fish in the world." The 
Indians sent them "divers kindes of fruits, Melons, Walnuts, 
Cucumbers, Gourdes, Pease, and divers rootes, and fruites 
very excellent good, and of their Countrey corne, which is very 
white, faire and well tasted." 

The Englishmen were as much delighted with the natives 
as with their country. They found them "very handsome and 
goodly people, and in their behaviour as mannerly and civill 
as any of Europe." The chief of the country, Wingina, who 
was disabled by a wound received in battle, sent his brother, 
Granganimeo, to welcome the strangers. Granganimeo "made 
all signes of joy and welcome, striking on his head and breast 
nnd afterwards on ours, to shew wee were all one, smiling and 
making shewe of the best he could of all love and familiaritie." 
When the Englishmen visited the natives in their villages they 
"were entertained with all love and kindnesse, and with as 
much bountie (after their maner) as they could possibly de- 
vise. ' Thus the visitors were deceived into the belief that 
their hosts were "most gentle, loving and faithful, voide of all 
guile and treason, and such as live after the maner of the 
golden age." Immediately after this bit of rhapsody the re- 
port adds : "their warres are very cruell and bloody, by reason 
whereof, and of their civil dissentions which have happened 
of late yeares amongst them, the people are marvelously 
wasted and in some places the countrey left desolate. ,: 

The explorers of course did not neglect the opportunity 
which the friendliness of the natives gave them for trade. 
They had brought with them the usual trinkets for which the 
Indians were always ready to trade furs and skins, gold and 
silver, pearls and coral. "We fell to trading with them," 
says Barlow, "exchanging some things we had, for Chamoys, 


Buffe, and Deere skinnes." A bright tin dish especially 
pleased Granganimeo and he gave for it "twentie skinnes, 
woorth twentie Crownes"; while for a copper kettle he ex- 
changed "fiftie skinnes, woorth fiftie Crownes." Gran- 
ganimeo 's wife, on her visit to the English ships, wore about 
her forehead "a bande of white Corall"; and ''in her ears 
shee had bracelets of pearles hanging downe to her middle 
* > * * and these were of the bignes of good pease." Some 
of the women "of the better sort," and "some of the children 
•of the kings brother and other noble men" had copper pen- 
dants hanging from their ears. Granganimeo "himself had 
upon his forehead a broade plate of golde, or copper, for 
being unpolished we knew not what mettal it should be. ' ' He 
"had great liking of bur armour, a sword and divers other 
things which we had : and offered to lay a great boxe of pearle 
in gage for them, but we refused it for this time, because we 
would not make them know, that we esteemed thereof, until 
we had understoode in what places of the countrey the pearle 
grew. ' ' 

Two months were thus spent in exploring the country, 
visiting the natives, gathering information, and trading. 
"Then," says Barlow, "contenting ourselves with this serv- 
ice at this time, which we hope hereafter to inlarge, as occa- 
sion and assistance shal be given, we resolved to leave the 
countrey and to apply ourselves to returne to England, which 
we did accordingly, and arrived safely in the West of Eng- 
land about the middest of September. * We brought 
home also two of the savages, being lustie men, whose names 
were Wanchese and Manteo." The story of this voyage was 
heard in England with wonder and delight. Everybody was 
charmed with this wonderful new country and its "gentle, 
loving" people. Elizabeth, delighted that her reign had been 
signalized by so great an event, declared that in honor of her 
virgin state the new country should be called "Virginia.' 1 

Raleigh lost no time in preparing a colony for "Virginia." 
The queen conferred upon him the honor of knighthood as a 
reward for his gift of "Virginia" to the Crown. He was 
wealthy and famous, high in the favor of his sovereign, and 
men were anxious to enlist in his service. He found no dif- 
ficulty, therefore, in securing a colony led by picked men. 
For governor he selected Ralph Lane. Lane, who had 
already seen considerable service, was then on duty for the 
Crown in Ireland, but the queen ordered a substitute to be 
appointed in his government of Kerry and Clanmorris, "in 
consideration of his ready undertaking the voyage to Virginia 


for Sir Walter Raleigh at Her Majesty's command." 2 Others 
who were members of Lane's colony were "the wonderful 
Suffolk boy," Thomas Cavendish, aged twenty-two years, 
who, before he reached his twenty-ninth year rivaled the ex- 
ploits of Sir Francis Drake in the Pacific and circumnavigated 
the globe ; Philip Amadas, one of the commanders in the first 
expedition to Roanoke, and now " admiral" of "Virginia"; 
John White, the artist of the expedition, sent by Raleigh to 
make paintings of the country and its people, afterwards 
governor of the "Lost Colony"; and Thomas Hariot, the 
historian and scientist of the colony, "a mathematician of 
great distinction, who materially advanced the science of 
Algebra, and was honored by Descartes, who imposed some 
of Hariot 's work upon the French as his own." 3 To none 
who bore a part in the efforts to plant a colony on Roanoke 
Island, save Raleigh alone, do we owe more than to White 
and Hariot. The work of "these two earnest and true men" 
— the splendid pictures of the one and the scholarly narra- 
tive of the other — preserve for us the most valuable informa- 
tion that we have of Raleigh's colonial enterprises. Two 
others who sailed in Lane's expedition were Wanchese and 
Manteo, the two "lustie" natives who had accompanied 
Amadas and Barlow to England. The fleet was under the 
command of the famous Sir Richard Grenville, whose heroic 
death in the most wonderful sea fight in all history is nobly 
commemorated by Tennyson in one of the most stirring bal- 
lads in our language. 

The colony was composed of 108 men. "With marvelous 
energy, enterprise, and skill Raleigh collected and fitted out 
in an incredibly short time a fleet of seven ships well stocked 
and well manned to transport his 'first colonie' into the wilds 
of America. * * Never before did a finer fleet leave the 

shores of England, and never since was one more honestly 
or hopefully dispatched. There were the 'Tyger,' and the 
'Roe Buck,' of 140 tons each, the 'Dorothea,' a small bark, 
and two pinnaces, hardly big enough to bear distinct names, 
yet small enough to cross dangerous bars and enter unknown 
bays and rivers. ' ' 4 The fleet sailed from Plymouth April 9, 
1585, followed the usual route by way of the Canaries and the 
West Indies, reached "the maine of Florida" June 20, and 

2 William Wirt Henry: Sir Walter Raleigh, in Winsor's Narra- 
tive and Critical History of America, Vol. Ill, p. 111. 

3 Ibid. 

4 Stevens : Thomas Hariot and His Associates, p. 50. 


three days later narrowly escaped wreck "ona breach called 
the Cape of Feare." June 26 brought them to Wocokon, 
part of the North Carolina banks, on the modern map called 
, Ocracoke. The next month was spent in exploring the coast 
and making the acquaintance of the natives. In the course 
of these explorations an Indian stole a silver cup from one of 
the visitors, whereupon the Englishmen "burned and spoiled 
their corn," and thus sowed seeds of hostilitv that were soon 

7 v 

to ripen into a harvest of blood and slaughter. July 27 the 
fleet reached Hatteras "and there rested." A month later, 
lacking two days, Grenville weighed anchor for England, leav- 
ing at Roanoke the first English colony that had landed on 
the shores of America. 

Lane's first work was to build a fort and "sundry neces- 
sary and decent dwelling houses." From this "new Fort 
in Virginia," September 3, 1585, he wrote to his friend Rich- 
ard Hackluyt of London, the first letter, of which we have 
record, written in the English language from the New World. 
Lane fairlv bubbled over with enthusiasm for the new conn- 
try, which, he declared, was "the goodliest soyle under the 
cope of heaven." In fact, he thought "if Virginia had but 
horses and kine in some reasonable proportion, * * being 
inhabited with English, no realme in Christendom were com- 
parable to it." To his exaggerated estimate of the riches of 
the country, we may trace the failure of Lane's colony. 
Three things only, he declared, were indispensable to 
make Virginia desirable for colonization by the English, 
viz., the finding of a better harbor than that at Roanoke; 
the discovery of a passage to the South Sea; and gold. 
Accordingly those energies which he ought to have devoted 
to the clearing of the forest, the erection of houses, and the 
tilling of the soil, he exhausted in premature explorations 
and a vain search for precious metals. In the prosecution of 
these undertakings the colonists consumed all of their pro- 
visions and before the close of their first winter in "Virginia" 
found themselves reduced to dependence upon the liberality 
of the savages for food. This, of course, soon proved a pre- 
carious and treacherous source of supplies. 

During the winter Lane's relations with the Indians 
seemed to be all that could be desired. Two of the most 
powerful chiefs sent in their submission and the Indians on 
Roanoke Island built weirs for the white men and planted 
enough corn to feed them a year. But appearances were 
deceiving. Familiarity bred contempt, and the awe with which 
the red men at first regarded the whites rapidly disappeared 



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when familiarity proved them to be but common men. No 
longer to be welcomed as gods, they must be expelled as 
intruders, and around their council fires painted warriors con- 
sidered how this object might be most easily accomplished. 
Their leaders in these plots were Wingina and Wanchese. It 
was the former's brother Granganimeo, it will be recalled, who 
had welcomed Amadas and Barlow to the New World; the 
latter with Manteo had accompanied them on their return to 
Europe. Granganimeo and Manteo became the fast friends, 
Wingina and Wanchese the steadfast enemies of the English. 
Soon after Lane 's arrival Granganimeo died, whereupon Win- 
gina, in accordance with some savage custom, changed his 
name to Pemisapan and began to plot the destruction of the 
invaders. His plot, which came to a head in the spring of 
1586, was shrewdly laid. , It embraced all the tribes north of 
Albemarle Sound, numbering about 1,500 warriors. They 
agreed to supply no food to the English, and to destroy their 
weirs, thus compelling them to scatter in search of food. 
After setting a day for the general attack, Pemisapan, in 
order to avoid Lane's daily demand for food, withdrew to 
Dasamonguepeuk on the mainland. 

Pemisapan had planned well. Famine soon threatened 
the colony and Lane was about to walk into his enemy's cun- 
ning trap, when the whole plot was revealed to him. In this 
emergency he acted w T ith enterprise and courage. Sending 
word to Pemisapan at Dasamonguepeuk that his fleet had 
arrived at Croatan from England — "though I in truth," he 
confesses, "neither heard nor hoped for so good adventure" 
—he said that on his way to meet it he would stop by Dasa- 
monguepeuk for supplies. Pemisapan was completely 
deceived. Lane marched upon his camp where he found the 
savage chief with several of his warriors awaiting him. At 
the signal agreed upon — the slogan "Christ our victory" — 
the Englishmen fell upon the savages "and immediately," as 
Lane reports, "those his chief e men and himself e had by the 
mercy of God for our deliverance, that which they had pur- 
posed for us.' : Pemisapan and several of his warriors were 
killed, the rest scattered, and the conspiracy fell to pieces. 
The Englishman adopted the strategy of the savage and beat 
him at his own game. 

A few days after this victory, Sir Francis Drake in com- 
mand of a fleet of twenty-three sail arrived off the coast. 
He was a welcome visitor for, says Lane, he made "a most 
bountiful and honorable offer for the supply of our neces- 
sities to the performance of the action wee were entered into; 


and that not only of victuals, munitions, and clothing, but 
also of barks, pinnesses, and boats; they also by him to be 
victualled, manned and furnished to my contentation. " But 
while preparations were being made to carry these generous 
measures into execution, "there arose such an unwonted 
storme, and continued foure dayes that had like to have 
driven all on shore, if the Lord had not held his holy hand 
over them." The vessels of Drake's fleet were "in great dan- 
ger to be driven from their ankoring upon the coast. For we 
brake many cables and lost many ankors. And some of our 
fleet which had lost all, (of which number was the ship 
appointed for Master Lane and his company) was driven to 
put to sea in great danger, in avoyding the coast, and could 
never see us againe untill we met in England. Many also of 
our small pinnaces and boates were lost in this storm." As 
a result of this experience, Lane, after consultation with 
Drake, decided to embarke his colony for England. Then 
Drake, says Lane, "in the name of the Almighty, weying his 
ankers (having bestowed us among his fleet) for the reliefe 
of whom hee had in that storme sustained more perill of 
wrake then [than] in all his former most honourable actions 
against the Spanyards, with praises unto God for all, set 
saile the nineteenth of June, 1586, and arrived in Portsmouth 
the seven and twentieth of July the same yeere." 

Lane and his colonists found no precious metals in "Vir- 
ginia," but they introduced to the English people three arti- 
cles that have brought more gold and silver into the coffers 
of English-speaking peoples than the Spaniards took from 
the mines of Mexico and Peru. These were "uppowoc," 
"pagatour," and "openauk," articles first described for the 
English people by Hariot. Though now masquerading under 
other names we have no difficulty in recognizing in "uppo- 
wac" our tobacco, in "pagatour" our Indian corn, and in 
"openauk" our Irish potato. Everybody knows that the first 
man of rank to introduce the use of tobacco to the English 
people was Sir Walter Raleigh. He also introduced the cul- 
tivation of the potato into England and Ireland. No greater 
service was ever rendered the Irish people. So important 
to their welfare lias the potato become that, though not native 
to the Emerald Isle, it is best known as the Irish potato. 

Shortly before Lane's embarkation for England a ship 
fitted out by Ealeigh "at his owne charge" and "fraighted 
with all maner of things in a most plentifull manner, for the 
supply and reliefe of his colony then remaining in Virginia," 
sailed from England for Eoanoke Island. This vessel 


reached Hatteras immediately after the departure of the 
English colony, ''out of this paradise of the world," but find- 
ing no settlers, returned to England. Two weeks later Sir 
Richard Grenville arrived with three ships. After diligent 
search for Lane's people he too turned his prow homeward; 
but "unwilling to loose the possession of the countrey which 
Englishmen had so long held, after good deliberation, he 
determined to leave some men behinde to reteine possession 
of the Countrey, whereupon he landed flfteene men in the Isle 
of Roanoke, furnished plentifully w T ith all maner of provi- 
sions for two yeeres, and so departed for England.' ! 

Raleigh was not to be deterred from his great work by a 
single failure. The next year, 1587, "intending to persevere 
in the planting of his Countrey of Virginia," he sent out a 
new colony "under the charge of John White, whom hee 
appointed Governor, and also appointed unto him twelve 
assistants, unto whom he gave a Charter, and incorporated 
them by the name of Governor and Assistants of the Citie of 
Raleigh in Virginia." This colony contained seventeen wom- 
en and nine children. Ten of the men, it may be inferred 
from their names, were accompanied by their wives and chil- 
dren. They were, therefore, goin^ to "Virginia" to seek per- 
manent homes. Three vessels, the Admiral, .120 tons, a fly- 
boat, and a pinnace, sailed from Portsmouth April 26, 1587, 
bearing this little colony to its mysterious fate. Following 
advice he had received from Lane, Raleigh ordered the fleet 
only to touch at Roanoke in order to bring off the men left by 
Grenville, and then to proceed to the Chesapeake Bay where 
he intended the settlement to be made. This order was not 
obeyed because the commander of the fleet, Simon Ferdi- 
nando, turned out to be a treacherous villain. L T pon reaching 
Hatteras. the governor with forty men embarked in the pin- 
nace for Roanoke Island, and as they left the ship Ferdinando 
sent an order to the sailors in the pinnace "charging them not 
to bring any of the planters backe againe," but to leave them 
in the Island, "except the Governour, & two or three such 
as he a) (proved, saying that the Summer was farre spent, 
wherefore bee would land the planters in no other place." 
From this decision there was no appeal this side of England 
and White was forced against his will to land his colony on 
Roanoke Island. This landing occurred "in the place where 
our fifteene men were left, but we found none of them, nor 
any signe that they had bene there, saving onely wee found 
the bones of one of those fifteene, which the Savages had 
slaine long before.' 1 Passing to the north end of the island 


they found the houses and the ruins of the fort built by Lane. 
The houses were in good condition but the outer rooms "were 
overgrown with Melons of divers sorts, and Deere within 
them, feeding on those Melons." The work of repairing these 
houses and the building of new ones was undertaken without 
delay, and thus was begun the second attempt to found an 
English colony in America. 

Two incidents in the life of this colony will always have a 
romantic interest. One was the baptism of Manteo who, in 
accordance with Raleigh's instructions, was christened Lord 
of Roanoke and Dasamonguepeuk "in reward of his faithful 
service." This ceremony occurred on August 13, 1587, and 
is the first instance on record of a Christian service by Eng- 
lish Protestants within the boundaries of the United States. 
A few days later occurred the second such service in connec- 
tion with the most interesting incident in the life of the little 
colony. On the 18th of August, Eleanor Dare, daughter of 
Governor White and wife of Ananias Dare, gave birth to a 
daughter, who was baptised on the following Sunday, "and 
because this child was the first Christian borne in Virginia, 
shee was named Virginia." More people perhaps know the 
story of Virginia Dare than of any other baby that ever lived 
in America, though the last ever heard of her was when she 
was but nine days old. The State of North Carolina has com- 
memorated her birth by embracing the very spot whereon 
she was born into a county called Dare. 

Virginia Dare was but a few days old when occurred the 
last recorded event in the life of the settlement. It was neces- 
sary for somebody to return to England for supplies. Two 
of the governor's assistants were expected to go, but when 
the time came they refused to make the trip. Then "the 
whole company both of the Assistants and planters came to 
the Governour, and with one voice requested him to returne 
himselfe into England, for the better and sooner obtaining 
of supplies, and other necessaries for them." At first he 
would not listen to their entreaties, alleging that many of 
the colonists had been induced to come by his persuasion, and 
that if he left them he would be accused of deserting the col- 
ony. Besides they "intended to remove 50 miles further up 
into the maine presently," and he must remain to superin- 
tend this removal. But the next day "not onely the Assist- 
ants but divers others, as well women as men," renewed their 
request and offered to sign a statement "under their hands 
and seals" that his return was made at their earnest entreat- 
ies. This statement was duly executed and White "being at 


the last through their extreme intreating constrayned to 
returne into England," set sail from Roanoke August 27th. 
From that day to this the fate of Virginia Dare and the Roan- 
oke settlers has been a mystery. 

Upon his arrival in England, White found the whole coun- 
try astir over the approach of the Spanish Armada called 
"Invincible." Every English vessel and every English sailor 
was in demand for the defence of the kingdom. There was 
no busier man in all England than Sir Walter Raleigh, yet 
he found time to listen to White's story and to prepare a 
small expedition for the relief of his colony ; but at the very 
last moment orders came forbidding it to sail. Raleigh's 
influence, however, was deservedly great, and in April, 1588, 
he secured permission for two small vessels to go to Roanoke. 
They set sail but were driven back by Spanish war vessels. 
It was then too late to give any further attention to the hand- 
ful of settlers across the Atlantic; the great "Invincible 
Armada" was bearing down on England's coast and every 
man's first duty was at his post to defend his home and fire- 
side. Finally the great battle was fought and the Spaniards 
were driven crushed and shattered from the English Chan- 
nel. "God blew with his winds and they were scattered." 

It was March, 1590, before White finally sailed for Roan- 
oke. Unfortunately he did not command the vessel in which 
he sailed but embarked as a passenger in a ship engaged in 
the West Indian trade. He arrived at Hatteras in the after- 
noon of August 15th. "At our first coming to anker on this 
shore," he wrote, "we saw a great smoke rise in the He Roan- 
oke neere the place where I left our Colony in the yeere 1587, 
which smoake put us in good hope that some of the Colony 
were there expecting my returne out of England." The sea 
was rough and the crew experienced great difficulty in reach- 
ing Roanoke Island. On one of the attempts seven men were 
drowned. The last attempt was made with two boats manned 
by nineteen men. The experience of this party can best be 
given in White's own language. Says he: "before we could 
get to the place, where our planters were left, it was so 
exceeding darke, that we overshot the place a quarter of a 
mile ; there we espied towards the North end of the Hand ye 
light of a great fire thorow the woods, to which we presently 
rowed: when wee came right over against it, we let fall our 
Grapnel neere the shore, & sounded with a trumpet Call, & 
afterwards many familiar English tunes of Songs, and called 
to them friendly ; but we had no answer, we therefore landed 
at day breake, and coming to the fire, we found the grasse & 


sundry rotten trees burning about the place. From hence 
we went thorow the woods to that part of the Island directly 
over against Dasamonguepeuk, & thence we returned by the 
water side, round about the North point of the Island, untill 
we came to the place where I left our Colony in the yeere 

1586 [1587]. In all this way we saw in the sand the print of 
the Savages feet of 2 or 3 sorts troaden ye night, and as we 
entered up the sandy banke upon a tree, in the very browe 
thereof were curiously carved three faire Romane letters 
CRO: which letters presently we knew to signifie the place, 
where I should find the planters seated, according to a secret 
token agreed upon between them & me at my last departure 
from them, which was, that in any wayes they should not fail 
to write or carve on the trees or posts of the dores the name of 
the place where they should be seated ; for at my coming away 
they were prepared to remove from Roanoke 50 miles into 
the maine. Therefore at my departure from them in An. 

1587 I willed them, that if they should happen to be distressed 
in any of those places, that then they should carve over the 
letters or name, a Crosse X in this forme, but we found no 
such sign of distresse. And having well considered of this, 
we passed toward the place where they were left in sundry 
houses, but we found the houses taken down, and the place 
very strongly enclosed with a high palisado of great trees, 
with cortynes and flankers very Fortlike, and one of the chiefe 
trees or postes at the right side of the entrance had the barke 
taken off , and 5 foot from the ground in fayre Capitall letters 
was graven CROATOAN without any crosse or signe of dis- 
tress ; this done, we entered into the palisado, where we found 
many bares of Iron, two piggies of lead, foure yron fowlers, 
Iron sacker-shotte, and such like heavie things, throwen here 
and there, almost over-grown with grasse and weedes. * * * 
Presently Captaine Cooke and I went to the place, which was 
in the ende of an olde trench, made two yeeres past by Cap- 
tain Amadas: where wee found five Chests, that had bene 
carefully hidden of the Planters, and of the same chests three 
were my owne, and about the place many of my things spoyled 
and broken, and my books torne from the covers, the frames 
of some of my pictures and Mappes rotten and spoyled with 
rayne, and my armour almost eaten through with rust . * * * 
but although it much grieved me to see such spoyle of my 
goods, yet on the other hand I greatly joyed that I had safely 
found a certaine token of their safe being at Croatoan, which 
is the place where Manteo was borne, and the Savages of the 
Hand our friends." 

Vol. 1—2 


Preparation- were made to proceed to Croatan "with as 
much speede" as possible, for the sky was threatening and 
promised a "foule and stormie night." The sailors embarked 
"with much danger and labour." During the night a fierce 
storm swept the sound and the next day "the weather grew 
to be fouler and fouler." The winds lashed the sea into a 
fury, cables snapt as though made of twine, three anchors 
were cast away and the vessels escaped wreck on the sand 
bars by a hair's breadth. Food ran low and fresh water gave 
out. Captain Cooke now refused to continue the search and 
determined to go to St. Johns, or some other island to the 
southward for fresh water and to continue in the West Indies 
during that winter "with hope to make 2 rich voyages of 
one.' : Governor White, much against his wishes, was com- 
pelled to acquiesce in this arrangement, but at his "earnest 
petitions" Captain Cooke agreed to return in the spring and 
renew the search for the colonists. It is well known that 
this was not done, for the voyage to the West Indies was 
unfortunate, the plans of the adventurers went awry, and 
they were compelled to return to England without going by 
way of Croatan. Thus was lost the last chance of learning 
definitely the fate of the "Lost Colonv. "' 

5 A discussion of the fate of the "Lost Colony" would be foreign 
to the purpose of this book. Those who wish to pursue this phase of 
the subject will find exhaustive treatments of it in "Sir Walter Ra- 
leigh's Lost Colony," by Hamilton McMillan, A. M., Advanee Presses, 
Wilson. X. C. 1888; in "The Lost Colony of Roanoke," by Stephen 
B. Weeks. Ph. D.. The Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1891 ; and in 
"Virginia Dare." by S. A. Ashe, in the "Biographical History of 
North Carolina." Vol. IV. pp. 8-18, Charles L. Van Noppen. Pub- 
lisher. Greensboro, N. ('.. 1906. 

The theory advanced in these interesting discussions is that the 
colonists despairing of the return of White, moved to Croatan, inter- 
married with the Croatan Indians, and became the ancestors of the 
present tribe of Croatans in North Carolina. In support of this 
theory, appeal is made to White's narrative, above quoted; to John 
Smith "s narrative; to a pamphlet entitled "A True and Sincere Dis- 
course of the Purpose and Ende of the Plantation begun in Virginia,'' 
published in 1610; to Strachey's "History of Travaile in Virginia 
Britannia," written sometime between 1612 and 1616, but not pub~ 
lished until 1849; to John Lawson's "History of Carolina." pub- 
lished in 1709; and finally to the traditions, character, disposition, 
language and family names of the North Carolina Croatans of the 
present day. 

Doctor Weeks thus summarizes the arguments in support of this 
theory: "Smith and Strachev heard that the colonists of 1587 were 
still alive about 1607. They were then living on the peninsula of Dasa- 
monguepeuk, whence they travelled toward the region of the Chowan 
and Roanoke rivers. From this point they travelled toward the south- 
west, and settled on the upper waters of the Neuse. John Lederer 


The departure of White did not end the search for the 
colonists. Other expeditions were sent out without success. As 
late as 1602 such an expedition sailed under the command 
of Samuel Mace. By the time Mace returned with his repe- 
tition of the sad story of failure, Raleigh had been attainted 
and his proprietorship to " Virginia" had escheated to the 
Crown. His efforts had cost him a large fortune amounting, 
it is estimated, to not less than a million dollars of our 
money. But, though his financial resources were exhausted, 
his spirit was as determined as ever, and he never despaired 
of seeing an English colony planted in "Virginia." "I shall 
yet live to see it an English nation, ' ' he wrote just before his 
fall. To the realization of this prophecy no man contributed 
more than he. Among those who subscribed funds for the 
founding of the Jamestown colony were ten of those who con- 
stituted the incorporators of the "Citie of Raleigh in Vir- 
ginia" in 1587. In these men we have the connecting link 
between the Roanoke settlements and Jamestown. Therefore, 
although he himself never set foot on "Virginia soil," Raleigh 
will always be esteemed the true parent of North American 
colonization. An idea like his has life in it, though the plant 
may not spring up at once. When it rises above the surface 
the sower can claim it. Had the particular region of the New 
World not eventually become a permanent English settle- 
ment, he would still have earned the merit of authorship of 
the English colonizing movement. As Humbolt has said, "with- 
out him, and without Cabot, North America might never 
have grown into a home of the English tongue." 6 This Avas 

heard of them in this direction in 1670 and remarked on their beards, 
which were never worn by full-blooded Indians. Rev. John Blair 
heard of them in 1704. John Lawson met some of the Croatan In- 
dians about 1709, and was told that their ancestors were white men. 
White settlers came into the middle section of North Carolina as early 
as 1715, and found the ancestors of the present tribe of Croatan 
Indians tilling the soil, holding slaves, and speaking English. The 
Croatans of today claim descent from the Lost Colony. Their habits, 
disposition, and mental characteristics show traces both of savage and 
civilized ancestry. Their language is the English of three hundred 
years ago, and their names are in many cases the same as those borne 
by the original colonists. No other theory of their origin has been 
advanced, and it is confidently believed that the one here proposed 
is logically and historically the best, supported as it is, both by ex- 
ternal and internal evidence. Tf this theory is rejected, then the 
critic must explain in some other way the origin of a people which, 
after the lapse of three hundred years, show the characteristics, 
speak the language, and possess the family names of the second Eng- 
lish colony planted in the western world." — "The Lost Colony of 
Roanoke,''' pp. 38-39. 

6 Stebbing : Sir Walter Ralegh, p. 48. 


Raleigh's greatest service to England and to the world. 
"Baffled in his efforts to plant the English race upon this con- 
tinent, he yet called into existence a spirit of enterprise 
which first gave Virginia, and then North America, to that 
race, and which led Great Britain, from this beginning, to 
dot the map of the world with her colonies." Such are the 
results that have sprung from the efforts of Raleigh, Lane, 
and White to plant an English colony on the shores of North 
Carolina. That judgment, therefore, is correct which declares 
that, looking back upon the events of the last three centuries, 
"We can hail the Roanoke settlement as the beginning of 
English colonization in America." 7 

7 Henry: "Sir Walter Raleigh," in Winsor's Narrative and 
Critical History of America, Vol. Ill, p. 105. 


Raleigh's efforts to plant a colony on Roanoke Island had 
failed, but they were not in vain. His work had stimulated 
the interest of the people of England in America, while his 
idea of another England beyond the Atlantic aroused in them 
that spirit of conquest and colonization to which the English 
race in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in Australia, in the islands 
of the sea, and in America owes the world-wide predominance 
which it today enjoys among the races of mankind. In spite 
of their losses and disappointments, neither Raleigh nor 
those associated with him thought for a moment of abandon- 
ing their great purpose. They were quick, however, to take 
advantage of the lessons which their experience had taught 
them. Their failure had made it clear that the work of colon- 
ization was too costly to be successfully borne by any private 
individual ; only the purse of the sovereign, or the combined 
purses of private persons associated in joint-stock companies 
were long enough to bear the enormous expenses incident to 
the settlement of the American wilderness. Out of Raleigh's 
bitter experience at Roanoke, therefore, came the organization 
of the great joint-stock company, known as the London Com- 
pany, which at Jamestown in Virginia planted the first per- 
manent English settlement in America. There is a vital 
connection between Roanoke and Jamestown. Among the 
subscribers to the stock of the London Company were ten of 
the men who had been associated with Raleigh in his efforts to 
plant a colony at Roanoke ; while from the colony into which 
Jamestown subsequently developed came the first permanent 
settlers in the region which had been the scene of Raleigh's 

A glance at the map will show why North Carolina re- 
ceived its first permanent settlers from Virginia. The dan- 
gerous character of the Carolina coast and the absence of 
good harborage made the approach too difficult and uncertain 
to admit of colonization directly from Europe. This became 



apparent from the experience of Raleigh's first colony, and 
Raleigh himself, as we have seen, directed John White, in 
1587, to seek a site on Chesapeake Bay. His commands, 
through no fault of White, were not obeyed and the result, 
as White later found to his sorrow, was disastrous. Twenty- 
two years later, the London Company, guided by Raleigh's 
experience, directed the Jamestown colony toward the Chesa- 
peake. The first settlers, for obvious reasons, sought lands 
lying along navigable streams ; consequently the water 
courses, to a large extent, determined the direction of the 
colony's growth. Many of the streams of southeastern Vir- 
ginia flow toward Currituck and Albemarle sounds in North 
Carolina, and the sources of the Roanoke, the Chowan, and 
other important rivers of northeastern North Carolina are 
in Virginia. Moreover, the soil, the climate, the vegetation, 
and the animal life of southeastern Virginia are similar to 
those of the Albemarle region. It should be remembered, too, 
that until 1663 this region was an organic part of Virginia. 
Nothing, therefore, was more natural than that the planters 
e-f Virginia, searching for good bottom lands, should gradually 
extend their plantations southward along the shores of Albe- 
marle Sound and the rivers that flow into it. 

The Virginians early manifested a lively interest in the 
country along the Albemarle Sound. Nansemond County in 
Virginia, which adjoins the Albemarle region on the north, 
was settled as early as 1609, and during the next few years 
many an adventurous explorer, hunter, and trader made him- 
self familiar with the streams that pour into Albemarle and 
Currituck sounds. No records remain — perhaps no records 
were ever made — of the earliest of these expeditions. The 
first report on record of a journey into that region was made 
by John Pory, secretary of Virginia, who in 1622 explored 
the lands along Chowan River. It is probable that he was 
only one of several such explorers, for seven years later 
enough was known about that region to induce Sir Robert 
Heath, the king's attorney-general, to seek a patent to it 
which Charles I readily gave him. Later Heath assigned his 
patent to Henry, Lord Maltravers who, about the year 1639, 
seems to have made an unsuccessful attempt to plant a set- 
1 lenient within his grant. During the following decade, Sir 
William Berkeley, governor of Virginia, sent several expe- 
ditions against the Indians along the Albemarle Sound, and 
these expeditions resulted in further explorations. One of 
these explorers entered Currituck Sound and explored the 
country along Albemarle Sound and for some distance up 


Chowan River. Four years later, 1650, Edward Bland, a 
Virginia merchant, led an exploring and trading expedition 
among the Nottaway, Meherrin, and Tuscarora Indians who 
dwelt along the Chowan, Meherrin, and Roanoke rivers. Dur* 
ing the next two or three years, Roger Green, a clergyman of 
Nansemond County, also took an active part in exploring and 
exploiting the region south of Chowan River. In 1654, Fran- 
cis Yeardley, a son of Governor Yeardley of Virginia, sent 
an expedition to Roanoke Island which led to other important 
explorations in what is now Eastern North Carolina; and 
two years later the Virginia Assembly commissioned Thomas 
Dew and Thomas Francis to explore the coast between Cape 
Hatteras and Cape Fear. 

Upon their return to Virginia these explorers and traders 
spread exaggerated accounts of the glories and riches of the 
regions they had visited. John Pory reported that he found 
the Albemarle region "a very fruitful and pleasant country, 
yielding two harvests in a year." Edward Bland declared 
that it was "a place so easie to be settled in that all inconven- 
ience could be avoyded which commonly attend New Planta- 
tions. * Tobacco will grow larger and more in quantity 
than in Virginia. Sugar Canes are supposed naturally to be 
there, or at least if implanted will undoubtedly flourish : For 
we brought with us thence extraordinary Canes of twenty- 
five foot long and six inches round ; there is also great store of 
fish, and the Inhabitants relate that there is a plenty of Salt 
made to the sunne without art; Tobacco Pipes have beene 
seene among these Indians tipt with Silver, and they weare 
Copper Plates about their necks : They have two Crops of 
Indian Corne yearely, whereas Virginia hath but one." He 
concludes his description of "that happy Country of New 
Brittaine" witla the positive assurance, that "What I write, 
is what I have proved." Francis Yeardley, too, who boasted 
of the " ample discovery of South Virginia or Carolina" by 
"two Virginians born" did not scruple to magnify their 
achievement by magnifying the virtues of the country they 
had explored. It possessed, he declared, "a most fertile, gal- 
lant, rich soil, flourishing in all abundance of nature, especially 
in rich mulberry and vine, a serene air, and temperate clime, 
and experimentally rich in precious minerals; and lastly, I 
may say, parallel with any place for rich land, and stately 
timber of all sorts ; a place indeed unacquainted with our Vir : 
ginia's nipping frost, no winter, or very little cold to be found 

These explorations and favorable reports were naturally 


followed by a southward movement of settlers. Just when 
this movement began cannot be stated with certainty because, 
as Ashe has well said, "it was a movement so natural that the 
particulars are not recorded in the local annals of the time." 1 
Enough, however, is known to show that, beginning with 
Pory's expedition in 1622, the efforts of interested persons to 
plant settlements within that region, though at times spasmod- 
ic, were never entirely abandoned. In 1629 came Heath's grant 
and his design for establishing a proprietary colony. Ten years 
later, after Heath had assigned his patent, the king com- 
manded the Virginia authorities to assist Lord Maltravers 
"in seating Carolina"; and about that time William Hawley 
appeared in Virginia as "governor of Carolina" and obtained 
permission from the Virginia Assembly to take into his prov- 
ince a colony of one hundred "freemen, being single ami dis- 
engaged of debt." His efforts, however, ended in failure. 
In 1648, Henry Plumpton of Nansemond County, Thomas 
Tuke of Isle of Wight County, and others who had accom- 
panied the expeditions sent by Governor Berkeley against the 
Carolina Indians, purchased from the Indians large tracts 
of land along Chowan Eiver. Two years later, upon his return 
from "New Brittaine," Edward Bland, for himself and his 
associates, petitioned the Virginia Assembly for permission 
to plant a settlement there, and the petition was granted on 
condition that the promoters "secure themselves in effecting 
the sayd Designe with a hundred able men sufficiently fur- 
nished with Armes and Munition." It is probable that this 
scheme exhausted itself in the preparation and publication 
of a pamphlet exploiting the advantages of the country. In 
1653, Roger Green, on behalf of himself and other inhabitants 
of Nansemond County, obtained from the Virginia Assem- 
bly a grant of ten thousand acres of land for the first one 
hundred persons who should settle on Roanoke River south 
of Chowan and one thousand acres for himself. "In reward 
of his charge, hazard and trouble of first discoverie, and 
encouragement of others for seating those southern parts of 
Virginia," he was permitted as a special favor to lay off his 
tract "next to those persons who have had a former grant." 
It is not probable that any settlement resulted from this 
grant, but the grant itself is historically important because its 
language leads irresistibly to the conclusion that when it was 
issued there were already settlers along the waters of Chowan 

1 History of North Carolina, Vol. I, p. 59. 


From that time forward there was no cessation in the slow 
but steady flow of settlers into the Albemarle region. The 
early historians of North Carolina saw in these settlers relig- 
ious refugees fleeing from ecclesiastical oppression in Vir- 
ginia and New England. We now know that they were 
inspired by no such lofty motives, but that the inducements 
for their migration were purely economic. North Carolina 
was founded by men in search of good bottom land. The 
explorers, hunters, and traders who first penetrated the Albe- 
marle wilderness carried back to Virginia, as we have seen, 
glowing reports of the mildness of its climate, the fertility 
of its soil, and the great variety of its products, while they 
pointed out that its broad streams and wide sounds offered 
easy means of communication and transportation. The 
opportunities for selecting at will large tracts of fertile lands 
were already becoming limited in Virginia, and many a small 
planter, recent immigrant, and ambitious servant who had 
completed the term of his indenture, heard with keen 
interest of the virgin wilderness to the southward where such 
land could be had almost for the asking. That they might 
acquire land on easier terms than could be had in Virginia, 
attain to the dignity of planters, raise and export tobacco, 
and find larger and better ranges for their stock, were the 
inducements which led them to abandon Virginia for Albe- 
marle. All this was well understood by the promoters of the 
settlement. Thomas Woodward, surveyor-general of Albe- 
marle, writing in 1665 to Sir John Colleton, one of the Lords 
Proprietors, warned him that the terms offered by the Lords 
Proprietors were not well received by the people, and advised 
that they be made more liberal for, he declared, it was land 
only that settlers came for. The Lords Proprietors, in recog- 
nition of the soundness of this advice, made their terms more 
liberal. It was not, then, religious enthusiasm but the Anglo- 
Saxon's keen insatiable passion for land that inspired the 
founders of North Carolina. 

An occasional record preserves for us the names of some 
of those early pioneers. Thus Robert Lawrence in a deposi- 
tion about another matter, made in 1707, declared that in 
1661, he ''seated a plantation on the southwest side of Chowan 
River about three or four miles above the mouth of Marat- 
tock where he lived about seven years." Others whose names 
are similarly preserved are Thomas Relfe, Samuel Pricklove, 
Caleb Calloway, George Catchmaid, John Jenkins, John Har- 
vey, Thomas Jarvis, and George Durant. Unfortunately 
we know but little about these founders of the Commonwealth. 


Lawson tells us that they were "substantial planters" and 
the meager records of the time attest the accuracy of his 
statement. Many of them brought into the new settlement 
retinues of servants and other dependents that would not 
then have been thought inconsiderable even in the older colo- 
nies. As each planter was entitled to fifty acres of land for 
each person whom he brought into the colony, the number of 
such persons in his retinue becomes an indication of the 
planter's wealth and standing in the community. Thus, Rob- 
ert Peele, who brought seven persons, received a grant for 
350 acres of land ; John Jenkins, who brought fourteen per- 
sons, received 700 acres ; John Harvey, who brought seventeen 
persons, received 850 acres; while Thomas Relfe and George 
Catchmaid, each of whom was accompanied by thirty per- 
sons, received grants of 1,500 acres each. 

Their subsequent careers show that they were men of 
ability and force of character. They quickly became the 
leaders in the affairs of the colony. Thomas Relfe became 
provost marshal of the General Court and one of the first 
vestrymen of the parish of Pasquotank. Samuel Pricklove 
became a member of the General Assembly. Caleb Calloway 
served as a representative in the General Assembly, as 
speaker, and as a justice of the General Court. George Catch- 
maid was speaker of the General Assembly and exercised 
great influence over the early legislation of the colony. John 
Jenkins became the deputy of Lord Craven, one of the Lords 
Proprietors, and like John Harvey and Thomas Jarvis, sub- 
sequently rose to the dignity of chief executive of the prov- 

Of all the men who assisted in laying the foundations of 
North Carolina, none was so worthy to stand in the forefront 
of a people's history as George Durant. In the contracted 
sphere in which he moved and played his part he displayed 
qualities of mind and character which would have won for 
him on a larger and more conspicuous stage a high place 
among the early patriot leaders of America. He had a faith 
in democracy far in advance of the age in which he lived, 
and in many critical events in our early history he showed 
111 at he had the courage of his convictions. Enlightened in 
his views, he was bold in asserting them, resolute in carrying 
them into execution, and fearless of consequences. Believing 
the navigation acts unwise, oppressive, and detrimental to the 
interests of the colony, he led a determined and temporarily 
successful opposition to their enforcement in Albemarle. In 
the very presence of the assembled Lords Proprietors, he 


denounced the man whom they had selected for governor as 
unfit for the position and threatened resistance to his au- 
thority. When an acting governor, exercising authority with- 
out legal warrant, sought to secure an Assembly amenable 
to his will by imposing new and illegal restrictions upon the 
election of representatives, Durant organized opposition, 
removed him from office, and set up a government based on 
popular support. Hating misgovernment and tyranny, he 
led a popular revolt even against one of the Lords Pro- 
prietors who had used his position to plunder and oppress 
the people, arrested, tried, and condemned him, and drove 
him out of the province. If in these various crises George 
Durant seemed to show a greater love for liberty than for 
order, he at least could plead in justification that it was lib- 
erty rather than order that was threatened with destruction ; 
and this plea must be accepted in vindication of his conduct 
just as a similar plea is accepted in vindication of a subsequent 
generation of Americans who a century later made a similar 
choice of alternatives. 

The oldest grant for land in North Carolina now extant 
is the grant to George Durant by Kilcocanen, chief of the 
Yeopim Indians, dated March 1, 1661 [1662] for a tract 
lying along Perquimans River and Albemarle Sound which 
still bears the name of Durant 's Neck. There were, how- 
ever, grants prior to Durant 's, for his grant recites a pre- 
vious one by Kilcocanen to Samuel Pricklove. Indeed, by 1662 
such Indian grants had become so common that the Crown 
ordered them to be disregarded and required the holders to 
take out new patents under the laws of Virginia. Three 
years later the surveyor of Albemarle declared that a county 
''forty miles square will not comprehend the inhabitants there 
already seated.' These settlers, for the most part, came 
from Virginia, but others came also, and by the close of the 
first decade of its history the Albemarle colony extended 
from Chowan River to Currituck Sound. 

By 1663, the settlements on the Albemarle had become 
of sufficient importance to attract attention in England. In 
them a powerful group of English courtiers saw an opportu- 
nity to undertake on a vast scale a colonizing enterprise which 
promised large returns of wealth and power. Accordingly 
they sought from the king a grant of all the territory claimed 
by England south of Virginia, including the Albemarle set- 
tlements. In compliance with their request, Charles' II issued 
his famous charter of 1663, by which he erected into a sepa- 
rate and distinct province all the region lying between the 


thirty-first and thirty-sixth degrees, north latitude, and ex- 
tending westward from the Atlantic Ocean to the " South 
Seas." Afterwards it was ascertained that these boundaries 
did not include the settlements already planted on the Albe- 
marle ; a second charter was therefore issued, June 30, 1665, 
which extended the grant thirty minutes northward and two 
degrees southward. Since Charles I, in his grant to Sir 
Robert Heath in 1629, had called this region "Carolana" or 
"Carolina," Charles II determined to retain the name. He 
accordingly erected it into the "Province of Carolina" and 
granted it to eight of his loyal friends and supporters whom 
he constituted "the true and absolute Lords Proprietors." 

The grant to the Lords Proprietors attracted consider- 
able attention and its publication was speedily followed by 
inquiries for the terms on which settlements within the new 
province could be made. One of these inquiries purported 
to come from a group of New England men who were inter- 
ested in the Cape Fear region. Another proceeded from cer- 
tain English adventurers who expressed a willingness /to 
embark upon a colonizing enterprise. A third came from 
"several gentlemen and persons of good quality" in the 
island of Barbados. Eager to take advantage of all this 
interest, the Lords Proprietors were preparing replies to 
these inquiries when an unexpected obstacle arose which 
threatened to bring all their plans to naught. Claimants 
under the old Heath charter of 1629 appeared who protested 
the validity of the title of the new Lords Proprietors to the 
territory embraced within the province of Carolina ; and the 
Lords Proprietors learned much to their annoyance that 
many persons who were eager to settle within their grant 
were deterred from doing so by these conflicting claims. In 
this dilemma they fell back upon their influence at court and 
induced the Privy Council, of which two of their number, 
Clarendon and Albemarle, were members, to declare the 
Heath patent forfeited on the ground that no settlement had 
been made within his grant. With the way thus cleared, the 
Lords Proprietors on August 25, 1663, issued a general 'Sloe- 
la ration and proposals to all who will plant in Carolina," 
setting forth a plan of government and stating the terms on 
which land would be granted. These proposals, however, 
were for Cape Fear only ; for Albemarle, the Lords Proprie- 
tors had other plans. 

Warned by the fate of the Heath grant, the Lords Pro- 
prietors hastened to institute a government in Albemarle in 
order, as they said, "that the Kinge may see that wee sleepe 


not with his grant." The jurisdiction of the first govern- 
ment, established in 1663, was confined to Albemarle County 
which embraced a region forty miles square in extent lying to 
the northeast of Chowan River. Over this region, in 1664, 
William Drummond was commissioned governor. Historians, 
unwilling it seems to find any failings in one who after- 
wards became the victim of the wrath of the detested Berke- 
ley, have agreed in assigning to Drummond a good character 
and fair abilities. Their guess at least has the merit that it 
cannot be disproved for, in fact, we know nothing about the 
man and but little about his administration in Albemarle. 
His appointment put into operation the executive branch of 
the government; a little later, probably in the early part ot 
1665, the legislative branch was organized with the freemen 
attending in person rather than through their representa- 

Immediately upon its organization, the General Assembly 
turned its attention to the consideration of the terms of land- 
holding offered by the Lords Proprietors. These terms were 
fifty acres to each settler for himself and a like amount for 
every person whom he imported into the colony, for which he 
was to pay in specie an annual quit rent of a half-penny per 
acre. They were less favorable than the terms which pre- 
vailed in Virginia where settlers received larger grants and 
were charged an annual quit rent of only a farthing per acre 
payable in produce. Accordingly, the first recorded act of 
the Albemarle Assembly was a petition to the Lords Pro- 
prietors "praying that the inhabitants of the said County 
may hold their lands upon the same terms and conditions that 
the inhabitants of Virginia hold theirs." This petition was 
supported by the Proprietors' surveyor-general, Thomas 
Woodward, who pointed out to them that in this matter their 
interests were the same as those of the settlers. "The Pro- 
portione of Land you have allotted with the Rent, and condi- 
tions are by most People not well resented [received]," he 
wrote, "and the very Rumor of them discourages many who 
had intentions to have removed from Virginia hether. 
* * * To thenke that any man will remove from Virginia 
upon harder Conditione than they can live there will prove 
(I feare) a vaine Imagination, It bein Land only they come 
for." Convinced by this reasoning, the Lords Proprietors, 
on May 1, 1668, signed and dispatched to Samuel Stephens, 
who had recently (1667) succeeded Drummond as governor, 
the document which has become famous in our historv as the 


Great Deed of Grant, in which they granted the Assembly's 
prayer. - 

This obstacle to the growth of Albemarle having been thus 
removed, the Assembly in 1669 adopted a well considered 
program for the encouragement of immigration. Three acts 
were passed to prev< nt speculation in land to the detriment 
of bona fide settlers. The first forbade any person to sell his 
land rights unless he had resided in the colony for at least 
two full years; the second threw open to re-entry any par- 
tially improved tract that had been abandoned by its owner 
for as much as six months; and the third forbade any per- 
son, except by special permission from the Lords Proprie- 
tors, to take up more than 660 acres in any one tract. Another 
statute passed at the same session protected new settlers for 
a period of five years after their arrival from suit on any 
debt contracted, or other cause of action that had arisen out- 
side of the colony. New settlers were also to be exempt from 
taxation for a period of one year. "Strangers from other 
parts" were shut out from the lucrative Indian trade under 
heavy penalties unless they became residents of Albemarle. 
Finally, as there were no clergymen in the province, it was 
enacted that a declaration of mutual consent, before the gov- 
ernor or any member of his Council, and in the presence of 
witnesses, should be deemed a lawful marriage as if the par- 
ties "had binn marryed by a minister according to the rites 
an 1 Customs of England"; that is to say, marriage was rec- 
ognized as a civil contract. 

Some of these measures, especially the stay law and the 
marriage act, aroused bitter criticism of Albemarle among 
her neighbors. The Virginians, who doubtless suffered much 
from the stay law, calmly ignoring the fact that the Albemarle 

2 The Great Deed of Grant afterwards became the subject of 
sharp controversies between the colonial authorities and the represen- 
tatives of the people. The former regretting the generosity of the 
Lords Proprietors, sought to break the force of the Great Deed by 
holding that it was a revokable grant, and that in fact it had been 
revoked and annulled at various times. The people, who regarded the 
Great Deed as second in importance only to the charter, vigorously 
controverted this view. Although it had been officially recorded in 
Albemarle, the original was preserved with scrupulous care and, 
sixty-three vears after its date, during a controversy about it with 
Governor Gabriel Johnston, the Assembly ordered that its text be 
spread upon its journal and the original plaeed in the personal cus- 
tody of the speaker. As late as 1856, the Supreme Court of North 
Carolina in Archibald v. Davis (4 Jones. 133) invoked the Great Deed 
to sustain the validity of a errant issued in accordance with its provi- 
sions by the governor and Council in September. 1716. 


act was an exact copy of an act that had been on the statute 
books of Virginia since 1642, vented their indignation by 
bestowing upon Albemarle the epithet of "Rogues Harbour." 
How far this epithet was deserved will be the subject of future 
inquiry. In the meantime, in spite of her liberal laws, Albe- 
marle grew but slowly, and at the close of the first decade of 
her history could count a population of scarcely fifteen hun- 
dred souls. 


The Albemarle settlements were originally within the 
jurisdiction of Virginia; indeed, there was no design on the 
part of the settlers to organize another government. This 
came later after Charles II had erected the region into the 
province of Carolina. In the list of the Lords Proprietors of 
Carolina appear some of the greatest names in English his- 
tory. They were : Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Lord High 
Chancellor of England; George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, 
Master of the King's Horse and Captain-General of all his 
forces; William Lord Craven; John Lord Berkeley; Anthony 
Cooper, Lord Ashley, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir 
George Carteret, Vice-Chamberlain of the King's Household; 
Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia; and Sir John 
Colleton. To each of these men Charles was under great per- 
sonal obligations. Clarendon, his constant companion and 
counsellor during his exile, had been among the foremost in 
effecting his restoration. His natural abilities had raised him 
to a position as the greatest of British subjects not of the blood 
royal; indeed, he was soon to become allied even by blood 
with the royal family by the marriage to the Duke of York, 
afterwards James II, of his daughter Anne, through whom 
Clarendon became the grandfather of two of England's sov- 
ereigns, Queen Mary and Queen Anne. To George Monk, 
more largely than to any other man, Charles owed his crown, 
for Monk had brought to him the support of the army with- 
out which his return to England could not have been effected. 
Craven had freely spent a considerable fortune in the royal 
cause. In Lord Berkeley and his brother, Sir William, 
Charles had two subjects who had adhered loyally to him in 
good and in ill fortune. The former had followed him into 
exile ; the latter, as governor of Virginia, had kept that colony 
so loyal to the Crown that it became a land of refuge for 
unfortunate Loyalists fleeing from the wrath of Cromwell. 
Anthony Ashley Cooper, afterwards earl of Shaftesbury, a 



man of winning manners and commanding intellect, had been 
one of the twelve Parliamentary commissioners who went 
to Holland to invite Charles to return to England to ascend 
the throne of his ancestors. Sir George Carteret, while gov- 
ernor of the island of Jersey, had defended his post against 
the Parliamentary forces in a most gallant manner and had 
surrendered at last only at the command of Charles himself. 
The last in the list, Sir John Colleton, had been a valiant sol- 
dier for the king in whose service he expended a large fortune. 
Upon the downfall of the royal cause, he emigrated to Barba- 
dos and for a time kept that colony loyal to the Stuarts. 

If a monarch was ever justified in using crown lands to 
reward the services of his friends, Charles II was surely jus- 
tified in rewarding these men. Not to have done so would 
have entitled him to first rank among the world's ingrates. 
To them he owed everything — the assurance of his personal 
safety, the restoration of his House to its ancient dignity, 
and the recovery of his throne. If subjects were ever justi- 
fied in accepting gifts from their sovereign, the Lords Proprie- 
tors of Carolina were surely justified in accepting them from 
Charles Stuart. At great risk to their lives, their fortunes, 
and their honor, they had rendered him inestimable services. 
He was an exile, and they restored him to his country ; he was 
a beggar, and they made him a king. What they had done 
for him was an incomparably greater personal service than 
any similar service Sir Walter Ealeigh ever rendered Queen 
Elizabeth. Yet among the historians of North Carolina 
there are those who acclaim Elizabeth's gift of this same re- 
gion to her ambitious subject, and his acceptance of it, as 
acts of profound statesmanship and genuine patriotism but 
who condemn utterly the " careless generosity" of Charles 
and the "rapacity" of his "parasites." * To such an extent 
do our prejudices often confound our judgment! 

The names of the Lords Proprietors, and of the king, 
are all found today on the map of the Carolinas. In 
North Carolina are Albemarle Sound and Craven and 
Carteret counties; in South Carolina, Clarendon and 
Colleton counties, Berkeley Parish, and the Ashley and 
Cooper rivers. The name of the two states commemorates 
the royal grantor. The assertion is often made, it is true, 
that their name originated in honor of Charles IX of France, 
but the facts do not sustain this contention. In 1562, Ribaut 

1 Hawks : History of North Carolina, Vol. I, pp. 28, 234 ; Vol. 
II, p. 74. 

Vol. I-v3 • 


founded a Huguenot colony near the present site of Port 
Royal, South Carolina, which he called Charles-fort. A year 
later the settlement was abandoned. In 1564, Laudonniere 
founded another Huguenot colony on St. John's River in 
Florida and called it Fort Caroline. This colony was de- 
stroyed by the Spaniards. Both Charles-fort and Fort Caro- 
line were named in honor of Charles IX, but these names 
were applied to the forts only; for the region immediately 
around Fort Caroline, the French used the Spanish name, 
Florida, while the entire region from the southern extremit 
of Florida to the fiftieth degree, north latitude, they called 
"Now France." The name "Carolina" is not found on any 
of the early French maps. This name was first applied to the 
whole region in the charter of 1629 to Sir Robert Heath in 
honor of Charles I, and was retained in the charter of 1663 in 
honor of Charles II. Writing in 1666, the Lords Proprietors 
state that "Carolina is a fair and spacious province on the 
continent of North America, so called in honor of his sacred 
majesty that now is, Charles the Second, whom God preserve." 
In adopting the proprietary form of government for the 
new colony, Charles followed the precedents set by Elizabeth 
in her charter to Raleigh and by Charles I in his charter to 
Heath. The model was the County Palatine of Durham. This 
interesting experiment dated back to the reign of "William 
the Conqueror. For the better security of his kingdom 
against his hostile neighbors on the north, William erected 
along the Scottish border the great County Palatine of Dur- 
ham over which he placed an executive upon whom he con- 
ferred many of the powers and attributes of sovereignty. 
The palatine exercised the feudal privileges of escheats, for- 
feitures, and wardship, and had possession of mines, forests, 
mikI chases. Within his palatinate, he was supreme in both 
civil and military affairs. He erected courts and appointed all 
justices and judges. Writs and indictments ran in his name 
just as in other comities they ran in the king's name, and 
offenses were said to be committed against his peace and dig- 
nity just as elsewhere they were against the peace and dig- 
nity of the king, lie exercised admiralty jurisdiction over 
his coasts and rivers. He could pardon murders, treason, 
and other felonies. He had his own mint and coined his own 
money. He raised, equipped, and directed his military 
forces. He could incorporate towns and cities. Although 
tin* amount of revenue to be paid by the palatinate to the 
Crown was fixed by Parliament, the palatine and his officers 
determined how it should be raised and collected. Thus while 


the Durham Palatinate was a constituent part of the king- 
dom, in actual administration it had a distinct machinery of 
its own. In order that no great feudal family might be 
founded to inherit these viceregal powers, William wisely 
conferred them upon the Bishop of Durham. 

Such was the model to which Charles II turned when he 
came to erect the province of Carolina. In his charter, he 
declared that the Lords Proprietors should have, exercise, 
and enjoy all their "rights, jurisdictions, privileges, prerog- 
atives, royalties, liberties, immunities, and franchises," "as 
amply, fully, and in as ample manner as any Bishop of Dur- 
ham, in our Kingdom of England." The object of the Lords 
Proprietors was to plant colonies within their grant from 
which of course they anticipated large financial returns; 
their motives were declared to be "a laudable and pious zeal 
for the propagation of the Christian faith" and the enlarge- 
ment of the king's empire. To enable them to carry out 
these objects effectively, "full power and authority" was 
given them to create and fill offices; to erect counties and 
other political divisions for administrative purposes; to in- 
corporate ports of entry, towns and cities ; to establish courts 
of justice for the punishment of offenses even to the extent 
of "member and life"; to commute punishment and pardon 
offenses ; to collect customs, fees and taxes levied by the Gen- 
eral Assembly ; to have the advowsons of churches ; to grant 
titles of honor provided they were not the same as those in 
use in England ; to raise and maintain a militia, and to com- 
mission officers, build forts, put down and punish rebellion, 
declare martial law, and wage war against the Indians or 
other enemies by land or by sea. While these extensive pow- 
ers were granted to the Lords Proprietors, great care was 
exercised to preserve the rights and privileges of the people. 
Laws were to be enacted "by and with the advice, assent an 1 

*/ 7 

approbation of the freemen, * or of their delegates 

or deputies" who were to be assembled from time to time for 
that purpose. All laws were to be "consonant to reason" and 
as near as possible in harmony with the laws of England. 
The colonists were to be liege subjects of the English Crown 
and were to enjoy all "liberties, franchises, and privileges" 
of the king's subjects resident within his realm of England. 
They were to have the right to carry on trade and commerce, 
and no customs were to be laid upon their goods except such 
as were "reasonably assessed by and with the con- 

sent of the free people, or the greater part of them." They 
could not be compelled to answer to any suit, or tried for any 








h- 1 









crime in any place beyond the bounds of the province, but 
they were allowed an appeal to the Crown. Liberty of con- 
science was guaranteed. 

Though the Lords Proprietors deriv'ed from their charter 
ample powers of government, the uncertainty with which they 
exercised them resulted in weakness and confusion. Plan 
after plan was promulgated, ordered to be put into execu- 
tion, and then abandoned for some new scheme. In 1663 they 
sent to Sir William Berkeley instructions for the establish- 
ment of a government in Albemarle, but two years later this 
plan gave way to a more elaborate scheme called the Conces- 
sions of 1665. The Concessions in their turn were supplanted 
in 1669 by the Fundamental Constitutions drawn by John 
Locke under the directions of Shaftesbury, but along with 
the order to put them into effect came instructions modify- 
ing their provisions. Adopted and signed by the Lords Pro- 
prietors July 21, 1669, and declared to be unalterable and 
perpetual, the Fundamental Constitutions speedily ran 
through four revisions and were finally abandoned alto- 
gether. The Lords Proprietors continued this sort of tinker- 
ing with their government for some years, with the result 
that "for the first fifty years of the life of the colony," as 
Doctor Bassett justly remarks, "the inhabitants could not be 
sure that their government was stable." 2 

The government of Carolina during the proprietary peri- 
od presents a theoretical as well as a practical side. The 
former found expression in the Fundamental Constitutions 
in which the Lords Proprietors embodied their ideal of a 
colonial government. 3 Their purposes were to secure a 
stronger government, to establish their own interests with 
equality and without confusion, to set up a government in 
harmony with monarchy, and to "avoid erecting a numer- 
ous democracy." For the accomplishment of these aims they 
devised with endless details an elaborate and complicated 
scheme of government semi-feudal in character, and an arti- 

2 Bassett, John Spencer: The Constitutional Beginning's of North 
Carolina, p. 35 {Johns; Hopkins University Studies, 12th Series, 
No. III). 

3 The Fundamental Constitutions have been so often and so fully 
analysed and discussed that I do not feel it necessary to present such 
an analysis here. The reader who wishes fuller information is re- 
ferred to the following-: Bassett. J. S. : The Constitutional Begin- 
nings of North Carolina (J. H. V. Studies. 12th Series. No. Ill) ; 
Ashe, S. A. : Historv of North Carolina. Vol. I, Ch. IX; Davis, Junius: 
Locke's Fundamental Constitutions (N. C. Booklet, Vol. VII, No. 1). 


ficial arrangement of society based upon an equally artificial 
division of land. No pains were taken to fit the constitution 
to the needs or the interests of the people. To say this, 
however, is not to condemn the Fundamental Constitutions 
unreservedly for they contain many liberal and enlightened 
provisions. Among them are the requirements for the regis- 
tration of births, marriages, and deaths ; the registration of 
land titles; a biennial parliament; the right of trial by jury; 
and perfect toleration of all forms of Christian worship. In- 
deed, to quote Doctor Bassett, " Their reactionary features 
were hardly worse than their generation, and their liberal fea- 
tures were much better than their time." The Lords Proprie- 
tors were fully conscious of the impracticability of putting 
them into full operation at once and contented themselves, 
therefore, with instructing Governor Carteret "to come as 
nigh it" as possible. 

The practical side of the constitution is found in the gov- 
ernment as it really developed. This of course grew out of the 
actual needs and experience of the people. The first adminis- 
tration was organized in accordance with the plan set forth 
in the, instructions to Governor Berkeley of 1663. "Full pow- 
er and ample authority" were conferred upon him to appoint 
a governor and six "fitting persons" as councillors. The gov- 
ernor and his councillors were authorized to appoint all other 
officials both civil and military, except the secretary and the 
surveyor whom the Lords Proprietors themselves were to 
select ; and together with the freeholders, or their representa- 
tives, were to form the General Assembly with power to make 
"good and wholesome laws" for the colony. The instructions 
also contained specific directions concerning the granting of 

Two years later the instructions of 1663 were superseded 
by the Concessions of 1665. In this plan the Lords Propri- 
etors reserved to themselves the selection of the governor, the 
register, the secretary, and the surveyor-general. With the 
governor was to be associated a Council composed of any even 
number from six to twelve to be selected by the governor. The 
legislative branch of the government, the powers of which 
were limited only by the veto of the Lords Proprietors, was 
to be composed of the governor and Council and twelve repre- 
sentatives chosen by the freemen; all were to sit together as 
a single body. Such courts as were necessary were to be pro- 
vided by the General Assembly but all judicial officials were 
to be appointed by the governor. Land was to be granted 
upon terms which, to say the least, were not illiberal. Per- 


sonal and property rights were secured by ample guarantees ; 
and special provision was made for securing to the people the 
right of petition to the Lords Proprietors touching any griev- 
ance they might have against any colonial official. 

Under this plan, the Lords Proprietors contemplated 
organizing within their grant several separate and distinct 
governments, or counties. Each was to have its own adminis- 
tration, but all were to be organized on the same basis. Three 
only of these counties were actually organized. They were : 
(1) Albemarle, which embraced the territory lying north of 
Albemarle Sound; (2) Clarendon, which embraced the region 
about the mouth of Cape Fear River; and (3) Craven, which 
embraced the territory south of Cape Romaine. Of these coun- 
ties, Clarendon was soon abandoned and Craven lay wholly 

Seal of the Government of Albemarle 

without the region that subsequently became North Carolina; 
it developed into the province of South Carolina. Albemarle 
was the parent settlement of North Carolina and alone of the 
three concerns us. 

As the county of Albemarle expanded into the province 
of North Carolina, so the constitution of North Carolina as 
a proprietary was an evolution from the plan of government 
actually established in Albemarle. At its head were the Lords 
Proprietors each of whom held one of the eight great offices 
created by the Fundamental Constitutions, viz : palatine, ad- 
miral, chamberlain, chancellor, high constable, chief justice, 
high steward, and treasurer. Corresponding to each of these 
offices was to be a court, presided over by the official whose 
name it bore, with supreme jurisdiction of such matters as fell 
within the sphere of that official's duties. As the Lords Pro- 
prietors remained in England, each was represented in Caro- 
lina by a deputy. Their first organization under this plan was 
effected in October, 1669, when the Duke of Albemarle became 


the first palatine. Although the other great offices were also 
filled and a show was made of keeping them up, they never 
exercised their functions and were nothing more than names. 
The palatine, however, who was always the eldest of the Lords 
Proprietors, really became an active factor in the government. 
He presided over the meetings of the Lords Proprietors and 
with three others constituted a quorum ; his court, consisting 
of himself and the other Lords Proprietors, was the only one 
of the eight great courts ever organized and exercised many 
important functions; while his deputy, sometimes called the 
vice-palatine, was governor of the province. 

The governor and his Council were the executive authority 
within the colony. It is important to remember that through- 
out the colonial period, the governor was never the represen- 
tative of the people, but during the proprietary period he rep- 
resented the Lords Proprietors, during the royal period, the 
king. In all important matters his conduct was determined by 
instructions from his superiors, and in any conflict between 
them and the people it was his duty to promote the interests 
of the former rather than of the latter. He was the medium 
through which the Lords Proprietors communicated their 
wishes and commands, and he was required to keep them fully 
informed about colonial affairs. In most of his important 
functions he could act only by and with the advice and consent 
of his Council, but as the councillors were generally his crea- 
tures this limitation on his power was more apparent than 
real. He called and presided over the meetings of the Council. 
AVith the advice and consent of the Council, he issued writs for 
the election of delegates to the General Assembly, and he con- 
vened, prorogued, or dissolved the Assembly at will. No law 
could be passed without his concurrence. He could reprieve 
persons convicted of crime pending an appeal to the Lords 
Proprietors. Acting with the Council, he appointed subordi- 
nate .judicial and administrative officials; administered to the 
higher officials the proper oaths of office and allegiance ; issued 
and revoked military commissions; and suspended, or other- 
wise punished public officials, civil, military, or religious, who 
violated their trust. LFpon order of the Council, he issued war- 
rants for land grants. All business between his government 
and other colonics was conducted through him. He was com- 
mander-in-chief of the militia and was charged with the duty 
of enforcing the laws, preserving order, and protecting the 
colony from domestic and foreign enemies. From time to 
time, he exercised numerous minor functions such as receiv- 
ing the probate of wills, granting letters of administration, 


taking the census, and the like. The tenure of office, except in 
the case of William Drummond who was appointed for, three 
years, was during the pleasure of the Lords Proprietors. Be- 
sides certain fees the* governor received a salary paid by the 
Lords Proprietors out of funds arising from quit-rents and 
the sale of land. During a vacancy in the office, the govern- 
ment was administered by the president of the Council. 

The course of the development of the province may be 
traced in the wording of the commissions of the Lords Pro- 
prietors to their governors. In 1664 Sir John Yeamans was 
commissioned "Governor of our county of Clarendon" and 
William Drummond was appointed to the "Government of the 
County of Albemarle." Both of these counties, or govern- 
ments, were within the territorial limits of what is now North 
Carolina. Although the settlement within Clarendon County 
was soon abandoned, the Lords Proprietors adhered for sev- 
eral years to their original plan of erecting a number of sepa- 
rate and distinct governments within their province. With 
the exception of Thomas Eastchurch, the first five successors 
of Drummond were governors of Albemarle only. The case 
of Eastchurch is particularly interesting on this point. Two 
commissions bearing the same date were issued to him, one 
as "governor and Commander in Cheife of that part of our 
Province called Albemarle," the other as "Governor and 
Commander in Cheife of all such settlements as shall be made 
upon the Elvers of Pamleco and Newse. ' ' At that time, 1676, 
it was the purpose of the Lords Proprietors to erect the re- 
gion between Albemarle Sound and Cape Fear River into a 
government separate and distinct from Albemarle. The last 
"Governor of our County of Albemarle" was Seth Sothel 
whose commission was issued in 1679. Two years later ap- 
pears the first indication of a change in the policy of the Lords 
Proprietors. In 1681 Henry Wilkinson was appointed "Gov- 
ernor of that part of the Province of Carolina that lyes 5 
miles south of the River of Pamlico and from thence to Vir- 
ginia." But Wilkinson never came to North Carolina and 
the government was administered by Sothel until 1689. 4 

In the meantime it had become customary to refer to that 
part of the "Province of Carolina" north of Cape Fear River 
as North Carolina, that to the south, as South Carolina. The 
effect of this natural division on the policy of the Lords Pro- 
prietors is seen in the commission of Phillip Ludwell, 1689, 
who was "appointed to be Governor of that part of Carolina 

4 Andrews. Charles MaeLean : "Captain Henry Wilkinson" 
(South Atlantic Quartrrhj, XV-3). 


that iWes North and East of Cape Feare." Two years later 
the Lords Proprietors, again changing their policy, deter- 
mine^ to have but one administration which should embrace 
the whole of Carolina. Accordingly in 1691 they commis- 
sioned Ludwcll "Governor and Commander in Cheif of Caro- 
lina," but fearing that this arrangement might prove imprac- 
ticable, they authorized him to appoint a "Deputy Governor 
of North Carolina." Ludwell's successor, John Archdale, 
was commissioned in 1694 "Governor of our whole Province 
of Carolina," with authority "to constitute a Deputy or Dep- 
uty Governors both in South & North Carolina.' 1 The Lords 
Proprietors adhered to this policy until 1712, conferring like 
authority upon each of their governors during those years. 
As the governors resided at Charleston, they chose to admin- 
ister the affairs of South Carolina in person, and those of 
North Carolina through deputies. This fact had import- 
ant results in the history of North Carolina. It tended to 
diminish the dignity and influence of the executive branch of 
the proprietary government and correspondingly to increase 
the influence and authority of the legislative branch. The re- 
sult was detrimental to the interests of the Lords Proprietors 
and favorable to the development of democratic ideals. Ac- 
cordingly, in 1710, the Lords Proprietors resolved to abandon 
the experiment and to appoint a governor of North Carolina 
"independent of the governor of South Carolina" who should 
be their immediate representative and responsible immedi- 
ately to them. This decision was carried into effect in 1712 
when Edward Hyde was commissioned "to be Gov r Cap* Gen 11 
Adm 11 Command 1 in Cheife of that part of y e province of Car- 
olina that lyes N° & E l of Cape ffeare Called N° Carolina." 
Hyde's appointment marks the final separation in the gov- 
ernment of the two provinces, and thenceforward the gover- 
nors of North Carolina were again selected by the Lords Pro- 
prietors and held office at their pleasure. 

The .governor was assisted in the administration by a Coun- 
cil. The organization of the Council, and the method of se- 
lecting its members, varied with the varying moods of the 
Lords Proprietors. In 1663 they directed Governor Berkeley 
to select a Council of six. Two years later they fixed its mem- 
bership at any even number from six to twelve, inclusive, to 
be determined by the governor. In 1670, probably with the 
idea of making the Council more representative of the varied 
colonial interests, they changed the number to ten, five of 
whom were to be their own deputies selected by themselves 



and five to be selected by the General Assembly. This plan 
was continued until 1691 when, the Council having become an 
upper house of the General Assembly, the Lords Proprietors 
instructed the governor to consider the deputies alone as 
members. At the same time it was determined that each of the 
Lords Proprietors should be represented in the province by 
a deputy. Finally in 1724 the deputies were abolished and 
the Council was organized with twelve members selected by 
the Lords Proprietors. The functions of the Council were 
two-fold, executive and legislative. Together with the gov- 
ernor it composed the executive branch of the government 
and was charged with many important duties ; independently 
of the governor its executive functions were inconsiderable. 
Upon the death or absence of the governor, the Council chose 
a president who administered the government until the va- 
cancy was filled. 

The Council also formed part of the legislative branch of 
the government. Prior to 1691, the legislature, usually called 
the General Assembly but sometimes referred to as the Grand 
Assembly, was composed of the governor, the councillors, and 
the delegates of the people sitting together as one body. After 
that date the Council became an upper house, and the delegates 
a lower house called the House of Commons. This develop- 
ment was the result not of design but of custom, and came 
about in a thoroughly characteristic English way. As acts of 
the Assembly were not valid until signed by the governor and 
three deputies, it became the custom of the governor and 
deputies to meet independently of the Assembly to consider 
such measures as the Assembly presented for their signa- 
tures. Thus the deputies, probably feeling that it was un- 
necessary for them to pass twice on the same matters, gradu- 
ally dropped out of the larger body and after a while came to 
be thought of as a separate and distinct legislative chamber. 
The Lords Proprietors formally recognized them as such in 
1691. At the same time the five councillors elected by the As- 
sembly were dropped from the Council leaving that body com- 
posed of the deputies only. 

Though not so intended these changes were favorable to 
the development of democratic institutions. In the first place 
they removed from the midst of the people's representatives 
the restraining influence of a body of legislators entirely ir- 
responsible to the people and representing interests distinct 
from the people's interests and not infrequently hostile to 
them. But it also brought about a change of even greater 
importance. The Lords Proprietors had lodged with the gov- 


ernor and Council the power of making laws "by and with the 
advice and consent" of the people, or their representatives. 
Thus the representatives of the proprietary interests, not the 
representatives of the people, enjoyed the right of initiating 
legislation, and the latter could consider no measures except 
such as were presented to them by the former. The popular 
party naturally grew restive under this restriction and early 
began to demand the " power of proposeing in the parlia- 
m[en]t without passing the Grand Councell first." After the 
withdrawal of the governor and deputies, and the organiza- 
tion of the representatives of the people into a separate and 
distinct house, it was not possible to deny to the latter one 
of the most important rights appertaining to a legislative 
body. Thus the House of Commons became in a real sense a 
representative democratic institution. 

In 1663, the Lords Proprietors instructed Governor Berke- 
ley to organize a government in their province and to give 
to the "Governor or Governors and Councill or Councillors 
power by and with the advice and consent of the freeholders 
or freemen or the Major parte of them there deputyes or del- 
egates to make good and wholesome laws" for the colony. 
This was the authority under which met the first law-making 
body in the history of North Carolina. It seems to have been 
an example of pure democracy; to it came not the represen- 
tatives of the people, but the people themselves. Represent a- 
tive government was introduced by the Concessions of 1665 in 
which the people were instructed to elect representatives to the 
General Assembly. The number of delegates, who were to be 
chosen on the first day of January of each year, was fixed at 
twelve. In 1670, Albemarle County was divided into four pre- 
cincts — Chowan, Pasquotank, Perquimans, and Currituck — 
each to be represented in the General Assembly by five dele- 
gates. Later as other precincts were erected and given the 
right to send to the Assembly two delegates each, the number 
increased until it reached twenty-eight — the highest number 
reached under the proprietary government. Regular sessions 
were held biennially, but the governor and Council could con- 
vene, prorogue, or dissolve sessions at will. As long as the 
Assembly sat as a single chamber, the governor, or his deputy, 
had the right to preside; after the separation into two houses, 
each house elected its own officers. The speaker of the House 
of Commons was the highest official in the province in whose 
selection the people had any voice either directly or indirectly. 
Usually, therefore, the place was filled by the leader of the 
popular party. The House of Commons had the right to de- 


cide contests involving the election of its members, to expel 
members, to compel attendance upon its sessions, and to initi- 
ate all measures levying a tax or carrying an appropriation. 
It was fully conscious of its responsibilities and obligations as 
the popular branch of the colonial government, keenly jealous 
of its rights and privileges, and quick to resent any encroach- 
ment by any other branch of the government. Through a proc- 
ess of evolution the General Assembly, from a position of 
weakness and subservience to the executive, came to be the 
chief factor in the government, while the House of Commons, 
as the only branch of the colonial government in which the 
people were represented, acquired such an ascendency as to 
become practically the Assembly. 

The judicial system under the proprietary government 
embraced a general court, precinct courts, a court of chan- 
cery, an admiralty court, and in some instances the Council. 
For several years after the settlement of the colony, the only 
court was composed of the governor and Council. With the 
erection of precincts and the creation of precinct courts for 
local business, the older tribunal became known as the General 
Court. In addition to its other business it was the appellate 
court of the colony. In 1685 the Lords Proprietors deter- 
mined to take the business of this tribunal out of the hands 
of the governor and Council. They accordingly instructed the 
governor to appoint "four able, discreet men" as justices 
who, together with a sheriff, should hold this court. Several 
years passed, however, before this order was carried into 
effect; the governor and Council were holding the General 
Court as late as 1695, but sometime between that date and 1702 
the court was organized as the Proprietors had directed. In 
1712 another forward step in its organization was taken when 
a chief justice was appointed who held his commission directly 
from the Lords Proprietors. He presided over the court 
which was thereafter composed of a variable number of as- 
sociates. A curious custom which prevailed during the early 
years of the court permitted justices temporarily to discard 
their judicial character and to come down from the bench to 
represent clients before the court. Subsequently this practice 
was forbidden by law. The court met three times a year and 
sat at different times as a court of king's bench, common 
pleas, and exchequer and as a court of oyer and terminer, 
and general gaol delivery. Indictments were brought "in 
the name of our Sovereign Lord the King" who was repre- 
sented by an attorney-general. The court also exercised cer- 
tain non-judicial functions such as directing the repair of 


roads, the appointment of ferrymen, the regulation of fares 
at ferries, and, by direction of the General Assembly, the 
apportionment of taxes and the ordering of the payment of 
the public indebtedness. Its chief executive officer was the 
sheriff or provost marshal. Precinct courts were held by 
justices of the peace who were appointed by the governor 
and Council. Their jurisdiction extended to civil suits involv- 
ing less than fifty pounds. They also exercised such non- 
judicial duties as caring for the public highways, creating road 
districts, appointing constables, granting franchises for mill 
sites, and other similar local matters. With their clerks were 
recorded, usually in open court, the marks by which settlers 
distinguished their cattle, horses, and hogs. The governor 
and Council held the chancery court; they also probated wills, 
received and examined accounts of administrators and execu- 
tors, tried public officials for misconduct in office, and heard ap- 
peals from the General Court. The Admiralty Court was com- 
posed of a judge and subordinate officials who were appointed 
by the Admiralty Court in England to whom they were obliged 
to report. 


Tlie history of Albemarle as a distinct colony was marked 
by discontent, tumult, and rebellion. Grievances were real 
and numerous. The uncertainty as to the terms on which the 
settlers held their lands ; the studied indifference and neglect 
of the Lords Proprietors ; the persistent rumor that Albe- 
marle was to be given over to Sir*William Berkeley as sole 
proprietor; the instability of the proprietary government; 
the depredations of hostile Indians; the attempts to enforce 
the navigation acts and to collect the king's customs,— all 
these things combined to produce dissatisfaction and strife. 

Perhaps nothing gave the people more concern than the 
land question. Ambition to become landowners, as has been 
stated, was the inducement that had brought most of them to 
Albemarle. Land was their chief form of wealth and what- 
ever tended to render their holdings insecure produced alarm 
and unrest. The terms on which they were to hold their lands, 
the people thought had been determined by the Great Deed 
of Grant, a document which they held to be "as firm a Grant 
as the Proprietors own Charter from the Crown." Such was 
the importance attached to it that the Assembly ordered it to 
be recorded not only in the office of the secretary of the col- 
ony, but also in every precinct in Albemarle, and appointed a 
special custodian into whose keeping the original itself was 
committed. This view, however, was not shared by the Lords 
Proprietors ; they held the Great Deed to be a revokable grant 
which they could annul at will, and from time to time they 
issued instructions to their governors inconsistent with its 
provisions. Although the Great Deed fixed quit rents at a 
farthing per acre, in 1670 the' Lords Proprietors instructed 
Governor Carteret to collect quit rents at the rate of "one 
halfe penny of lawful English money" per acre; and in 1679, 
they directed Governor Harvey to fix the amount at a penny. 
Moreover, the Fundamental Constitutions provided that quit 



rents for each acre in Carolina should be "as much fine silver" 
as was in one English penny. It was these frequent changes, 
doubtless, that gave rise to a rumor, which created wide- 
spread apprehension in Albemarle, that the Lords Propri- 
etors "intended to raise the Quitrents to two pence and from 
two pence to six pence per acre." The people too began to 
ask whether the Fundamental Constitutions repealed the 
Great Deed. Apprehension that they might be so interpreted 
aroused opposition to the Fundamental Constitutions, and 
some of those who subscribed that document felt it necessary 
to protest that in so doing they should "not be disanulled" 
of the rights they enjoyed under the Great Deed. The Lords 
Proprietors, who could find no record of the Great Deed in 
their London office, were disposed to deny its existence alto- 
gether ; but the Albemarle Assembly promptly ordered a cer- 
tified copy of the original to be sent to them "which convinced 
the Prop 1 " 5 that it was a firm Grant and they let the dispute 
drop.' 1 To make matters worse, by still further increasing 
the feeling of insecurity, as late as 1678 the Albemarle plant- 
ers had never received from the Lords Proprietors any pat- 
ents for their holdings. Timothy Biggs writing to them de- 
clared that the fact that the "the people have no assurance of 
their Lands (for that yet never any Patents have been granted 
under your Lordships to the Inhabitants) is matter of great 
discouragement for men of Estate to come amongst us be- 
cause those alreadv seated there have no assurance of their 

This strange oversight probably arose from the indiffer- 
ence which the Lords Proprietors felt toward Albemarle. 
They had been keenly disappointed at the slow growth of the 
colony. That the settlers had not quickly pushed across Al- 
bemarle Sound, cleared plantations on the Pamlico and the 
Neuse, and opened communications by land with the Ashley 
River colony, appeared to them to be evidence of a slothful- 
ness of disposition and disregard of their interests that 
augured ill for the success of the colony, or for its value to 
them. This, they frankly declared to the Albemarle Assem- 
bly, "has bine the Cause that hitherto we have had noe more 
Reguard for you as lookinge upon you as a people that 
neither understood your own nor regarded our Interests." 
Having spent no money on Albemarle, they considered that 
they lost nothing by leaving that colony to shift for itself 
while they devoted their attention and resources to the de- 
velopment of the more promising settlement on Ashley River. 


To Albemarle, struggling bravely against the forces of nature 
and the savages of the wilderness, this studied neglect was 
in itself a grievance, and prominent colonial leaders pro- 
tested against the injustice of it. Thomas Eastchurch, speak- 
er of the Assembly, informed the Lords Proprietors that en- 
terprising settlers had made several attempts to carry out 
their wishes, but each time had been frustrated by the Pro- 
prietors' own agents who did not want their trade with the 
Indians disturbed by further settlements among them; and 
Timothy Biggs, deputy-collector, made bold to tell them that 
"notwithstanding you have not bene out as yet any thing upon 
that County in y e Province called Albemarle yet y e Inhabi- 
tants have lived and gott Estates under v e Lord 1 * there bv 
their owne Industry and brought it to the capacity of a hope- 
full Settlement and ere these had it had your Lord 1 * smiles 
and assistance but a tenth part of what your Southern parts 
have had It would have beene a Flourishing Settlement. ' ' The 
Lords Proprietors were convinced of their error and in a 
frank and generous letter to the Assembly unreservedly con- 
fessed the injustice they had done the colony. 

At the same time, the Lords Proprietors laid to rest the 
rumor that they were planning to turn Albemarle over to Sir 
William Berkeley. Color had evidently been given to this 
report by their neglect of Albemarle coupled with their great 
industry in promoting their Ashley River colony. The peo- 
ple of Albemarle would probably have objected to being sub- 
jected to any single proprietor; when that proprietor was to 
be Sir William Berkeley, who was at that very time giving 
an indication of his true character by his dealings with Ba- 
con's Rebellion, their objection would unquestionably have 
taken the form of forcible opposition had it become neces- 
sary. That they were greatly disturbed by the rumor is cer- 
tain; the Assembly adopted a remonstrance against the pro- 
ject and dispatched it to England by a special messenger. In 
this matter, if in no other, the Lords Proprietors were able to 
give their people complete satisfaction. In the first place, 
they said, it was their purpose to maintain and preserve the 
people of their colony in all their ' ' English Rights and Liber- 
ties"; in the second place, Albemarle was valuable to them 
in the development of the rest of their province; for these 
reasons, they assured the Assembly, "wee neither have nor 
ever will parte with the County of Albemarle to any person 
whatsoever But will alwayse maintaine our province of Caro- 
lina entire as itt is." 

Vol. 1—4 


Much of the trouble in Albemarle would never have arisen 
had the Lords Proprietors been able to establish and main- 
tain a strong, stable government, and to place properly quali- 
fied men in charge of it, Their failure to establish such a 
government has already been discussed. As it was, many of 
the defects in the system could have been greatly minimized 
had it been administered by men of prudence, ability, and 
character. But such men were rare. The Lords Proprietors 
themselves complained that it was u a very difficult matter to 
gitt a man of worth and trust" to accept the office of gov- 
ernor, and they were generally unfortunate in the men who 
represented them in that capacity. Some were weak, others 
ambitious, covetous, and unscrupulous. Constant strife and 
tumult marked the administrations of Carteret, Jenkins, Mil- 
ler, Eastchurch, and Sothel. Carteret growing tired of his 
thankless task abandoned the colony leaving "y e Governm' 
there in ill order & worse hands. ' : Jenkins was deposed from 
office by a dominant faction in the General Assembly. Miller 
after a brief career of misgovernment and crime was over- 
thrown by armed rebels and forced to flee the country. The 
same rebels met Eastchurch at the Virginia boundary and 
although he bore a commission from the Lords Proprietors, 
forbade his entering Albemarle to assume his office. And 
Sothel, whose career of crime and tyranny was rivaled only 
by that of Miller, was like Miller driven from power and 
banished the province. Some of these uprisings were in- 
spired by the righteous indignation of the people against 
tyranny and oppression; others had no higher origin than 
personal animosities and factional rivalries. But whatever 
their inspiration they were all the results of a political sys- 
tem that was too weak and unstable to command either re- 
spect or fear. 

From such a government the settlers could expect no pro- 
tection against hostile Indians. Fortunatelv there was no 
powerful tribe to contest the possession of the Albemarle re- 
gion with the whites. There were, however, small tribes who 
committed many depredations on the settlements and twice 
in the history of Albemarle made war on them. In 1666 an 
outbreak of hostilities imperilled the life of the infant settle- 
ment, but peace was restored before any great losses were 
sustained. Nine years later a more serious war broke out 
with the Chowanoc Indians. When first known to the whites, 
in 1584-85, these Indians, then the leading tribe in that re- 
gion, occupied the territorv on both sides of the Meherrin 


and Nottoway rivers about where they come together to form 
the Chowan. Although their number had greatly dwindled 
during the century that followed, they were still formidable 
when white men first began to erect their cabins along the 
Chowan. At first they offered no opposition to the coming of 
the whites, and after the creation of the proprietary entered 
into a treaty by which they "submitted themselves to the 
Crown of England under the dominion of the Lords Propri- 
etors. ' : This treaty they faithfully observed until 1675. In 
the summer of that year the hostile tribes in Virginia, who 
were endeavoring to stir up a general Indian war against 
the whites, sent emissaries to induce the Chowanocs to go on 
the warpath. The Chowanocs were easily persuaded and 
without warning struck swiftly and effectively in the usual 
Indian fashion. William Edmundson, the Quaker preacher, 
writing of his visit to North Carolina in 1676, referring to 
the beginning of this Indian outbreak, says: "I was moved of 
the Lord to go to Carolina, and it was perillous travelling, 
for the Indians were not yet subdued, but did mischief and 
murdered several. They haunted much in the wilderness be- 
tween Virginia and Carolina, so that scarce any durst travel 
that way unarmed. Friends endeavored to dissuade me from 
going, telling of several who were murdered." 

The settlers flew to arms, and for more than a year waged 
"open war" upon their enemies. Both sides suffered heavy 
losses. In the midst of the struggle the whites received timely 
aid from Captain Zachariah Gillam, a well-known New Eng- 
land trader, who arrived in Albemarle from London in his 
armed vessel, the Carolina, with a supply of arms and am- 
munition. Thus strengthened they pushed the war more vigor- 
ously than ever and finally, as the Council said, "by Gods as- 
sistance though not without the loss of many men," they 
"wholly subdued" their formidable foes and drove them from 
their lands on the Meherrin which were thereupon "resigned 
into the immediate possession of the Lords Proprietors of 
Carolina as of their province of Carolina." 

Returning from the war against the Indians, the people 
under the leadership of George Durant, took advantage of 
their being organized and under arms to demand from the 
colonial authorities redress of certain grievances growing out 
of the enforcement of the navigation acts. This was the be- 
ginning of that popular uprising which historians have incor- 


rectly called Culpepper's Bebellion. It was occasioned by 
England's commercial policy. Other causes doubtless ac- 
centuated the trouble, but the primary cause was the Naviga- 
tion Act — "that mischievous statute with which the mother 
country was busily weaning from itself the affections of its 
colonies all along the American seaboard." ' The purpose of 
the Navigation Act "was to foster the development of na- 
tional strength by an increase of sea power and commerce." 
As it affected the colonies, it restricted their carrying trade 
to vessels of English, Irish, and colonial ownership and for- 
bade the shipment of certain articles, including tobacco, else- 
where than to England, Ireland, or some English colony. Ex- 
perience soon showed, from the British merchant's point of 
view, that the statute contained one serious defect. It per- 
mitted tobacco, which was subject to a heavy duty when im- 
ported into England, to be shipped from one colony to an- 
other free of duty. Thus the colonial consumer enjoyed a 
decided advantage over the British consumer. Moreover — 
and this is where the rub came — when the colonial merchant, 
evading the Navigation Act, re-shipped to foreign countries 
tobacco on which he had paid no duty, he was able to under- 
sell his British competitor who was compelled to add to the 
price which he charged the foreigner the import tax which 
he himself had paid to the Crown. The Navigation Act was 
so imperfectly enforced in the colonies, that this competition 
became a matter of serious concern to British merchants who 
finally complained to Parliament about it. In 1673, therefore, 
Parliament came to their relief by passing an act which levied 
export duties on certain articles when shipped from one col- 
ony to another. On tobacco this duty was fixed at a penny 
a pound which was to be collected by officials of the Crown. 

The passage of this act, which was approved by the Lords 
Proprietors, alarmed the Albemarle planters. Tobacco was 
their chief article of export; New England was their princi- 
pal market. Of their yearly crop, amounting to more than a 
million pounds, but little found its way, or could find its way 
directly to England. Poor harbors and shifting sands made 
the navigation of the Carolina waters too difficult and danger- 
ous for large vessels engaged in trans-Atlantic trade, but the 
lighter draft coastwise ships of the New England traders were 
not seriously hindered by these obstacles. The trade of Al- 
bemarle accordingly was largely controlled by a few enter- 
prising and not overly scrupulous New England skippers. That 

1 Fiske: Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. II, p. 280. 


this was economically bad for Albemarle, the Lords Propri- 
etors understood better than the planters, "itt beinge," they 
said, "a certaine Beggery to our people of Albemarle if they 
shall buy goods at 2 d hand and soe much dearer than they 
may bee supply 'cl from England and with all sell there Tobac- 
co and other Commodities at a lower rate then they could do 
in England." What the Lords Proprietors did not under- 
stand was that Nature, not man, had determined the course 
of the trade of Albemarle. For instance, in 1676, they di- 
rected the governor, "in order to the Incourageinge a Trade 
with England," to send them an exact account of the depth 
of water in the several inlets and at places where ships could 
load and unload "for this has bine soe concealed and uncer- 
tainely reported here as if some persons amongst you had 
joyn'd with some of New England to engross that poore trade 
you have and Keepe you still under hatches." It was, then, 
with the expectation that the Navigation Act would destroy 
this New England monopoly of the Albemarle trade and build 
up a direct trade between Albemarle and the mother country, 
that the Lords Proprietors gave it such hearty support. Our 
historians generally have condemned their policy because they 
have misunderstood the purpose of the Navigation Act. Had 
its purpose, and its only result, been "to secure more funds 
for the deplenished purse of a needy sovereign," 2 it would 
have received scant sympathy from the Lords Proprietors ; it 
was not to their interest to impoverish their colony for the 
benefit of the Crown. But the real purpose of the act was 
not to produce a revenue; it was to establish direct trade rela- 
tions between the colonies and the mother country, and the 
Lords Proprietors understood clearly enough the advantages 
their colony would derive from such relations. It was the 
hope of securing these advantages for their colony, and not 
the desire of collecting a revenue for the Crown, that inspired 
them to take so much interest in enforcing the act of 1673, as, 
on the other hand, it was the fear of this result that moved the 
New England traders, and those Albemarle planters who were 
associated with them, to offer such a vigorous opposition. 

In following the course of this opposition, which finally 
broke out in open rebellion, we are led into the obscure mazes 
of colonial politics from which it is difficult at times to extri- 
cate ourselves with certainty. To a large extent the revolt 
against the enforcement of the Navigation Act was but the 

2 Ashe: History of North Carolina, Vol. I, p. 113. 


continuation of a factional strife that had long been waging 
in Albemarle. In 1673, two parties were contending for su- 
premacy. One led by Thomas Eastchurch controlled the lower 
house of the General Assembly of which Eastchurch was 
speaker. Closely allied with him were Timothy Biggs, dep- 
uty of the Earl of Craven, and Thomas Miller whose tyranny 
was the occasion for the outbreak. Of the other party, though 
John Jenkins, acting governor, was nominally the leader, the 
real head and front was George Durant who completely dom- 
inated the governor. ''Of all the factious persons in the 
Country," declared his opponents, "he was the most active 
and uncontrollable." Prominent among those who acknowl- 
edged his leadership, besides Jenkins, were Valentine Byrd 
who, it was said, "drew the first sword" in the revolt, and 
John Culpepper, who, declared his enemies (and he had many 
of them), was "never in his element but whilst fishing in 
troubled waters," and who gave his name to the rebellion of 
1677. The contest between these two factions had already 
reached a point of great bitterness when it became intensified 
by the issues arising out of the efforts to enforce the act of 

In 1675, commissions naming a surveyor and a collector 
of customs were sent to Governor Jenkins, accompanied by 
instructions that if the men named were not in the colony he 
should appoint others in their stead. In these orders the 
New England skippers trading in Albemarle read the ruin of 
their business and promptly set on foot a report that, if the 
duties were collected, they would be compelled to double the 
price of their wares; "Upon w ch the people were very muti- 
nous and reviled & threatened y e Members of the Councell that 
were for setleing y e s d duty. ' ; George Durant and his follow- 
ers, whose interests lay in maintaining commercial relations 
with the New England men, supported their cause. As neither 
the surveyor nor the collector named in the commissions of 
1675 was in the province, it became the duty of Governor Jen- 
kins to fill the vacancies. Accordingly he appointed Timothy 
Biggs surveyor and Valentine Byrd collector. The selection 
of Biggs was a blind, the selection of Byrd a fraud. The sur- 
veyor had nothing to do with the enforcement of the customs 
act. Control of that office, therefore, was of less importance 
than control of the collectorship, and the Durant party will- 
ingly relinquished it to Biggs, a partisan of the Eastchurch 
faction, whose selection gave an appearance of good faith 
to the whole transaction. The selection of Bvrd as collector, 


on the other hand, placed the enforcement of the act in the 
hands of the party that was interested in nullifying it. Byrd 
fully met the expectation of his friends ; he reduced the whole 
thing to a farce by deliberately closing his eyes to violations 
of the law, permitting many hogsheads of tobacco to leave the 
wharves of Albemarle planters marked as "bait for the New 
England fishermen. ' ' 

In the meantime the affairs of Albemarle were going from 
bad to worse. Factional feuds grew more and more bitter, 
and each party when in power carried things with a high hand. 
Conspiring with John Culpepper, Jenkins attempted to use 
his official power to destroy their personal enemy, Thomas 
Miller, whom he had arrested and thrown into prison ; while 
John Willoughby, a justice of the General Court and an ad- 
herent of the Durant faction, arrogantly asserting that his 
"court was the court of courts and the jury of juries," per- 
emptorily denied to Thomas Eastchurch the right of appeal 
from his decision to the Lords Proprietors. The Assembly 
party in turn, under the leadership of Eastchurch, were quite 
as arbitrary. Accusing Jenkins of "several misdemeanors, ' ; 
they deposed him from office, without any pretence of legal 
right, and threw him into prison. Hastening to justify their 
action, they drew up a statement of their proceedings and 
dispatched it, together with a petition for redress of griev- 
ances, to the Lords Proprietors by Miller who, at the com- 
mand of Sir William Berkeley, had been acquitted of the 
charges against him and released. Miller arrived in England 
in the summer of 1G76 where he met Eastchurch who had gone 
thither to seek redress of his own grievances. 

The Lords Proprietors, greatly perplexed over the situa- 
tion in their colony, and sincerely desirous of promoting its 
interests, conferred freely with Eastchurch and Miller. Both 
impressed them favorably. Eastchurch seemed to be not only 
"a gentleman of a very good family," but also "a very dis- 
creet and worthy man," and much concerned for the "pros- 
perity and wellfaire" of Albemarle. As he was speaker of 
the Assembly, and Miller the bearer of important dispatches 
from the Assembly, the Lords Proprietors naturally looked 
upon them as representatives of the people and argued that 
if anybody could straighten out the tangled affairs of Albe- 
marle, Eastchurch and Miller were the men. Accordingly 
they appointed Eastchurch governor and procured the ap- 
pointment of Miller as collector feeling confident that both 


appointments would be acceptable to the people of Albemarle 
and taken as evidence of their solicitude for their colony. 

Eastchurch and Miller sailed for Carolina in the summer 
of 1677. Coming by way of the West Indies, their ship touched 
at the island of Nevis where Eastchurch "lighting upon a 
woman y* was a considerable fortune took hold of the opper- 
tunity [and] marryed her," and sent Miller on to Albemarle 
with a commission as president of the Council to "settle 
affayres against his coming. ' : Although Eastchurch exceeded 
his authority in appointing Miller president of the Council, 
nevertheless Miller was quietly received by the people who 
submitted without question to his authority both as collector 
and as acting-governor. As collector he discharged his duties 
with zeal, demanding an accounting from Byrd, his predeces- 
sor, appointing deputies, among them Timothy Biggs, and 
making "a very considerable progress" in collecting the 
king's customs. By his own statement, his collections 
amounted to "the value of above £8,000 sterling." But as 
governor, Miller showed himself totally unfit to exercise the 
power and responsibility with which he had been entrusted. 
His enemies, omitting "many hainous matters," charged him 
with corruption, vindictiveness, and tyranny; and the Lords 
Proprietors were compelled to admit that he "did many 
extravagant things, making strange limitations for y e choyce 
of y e Parliam 1 gitting pow r in his hands of laying fynes, w ch 
tis to be feared he neither did nor meant to use moderately 
sending out strange warrants to bring some of ye most con- 
siderable men of y e Country alive or dead before him, setting 
a sume of money upon their heads." To support his tyranny, 
he organized and armed a band of his partisans upon pre- 
tense of their being for defence against the Indians ; and by 
this "pipeing guard," as it was called, not only kept the peo- 
ple in terror but also imposed a heavy debt on the already 
bankrupt colony. Consequently, wrote the Lords Proprie- 
tors, Miller soon "lost his reputation & interest amongst y e 

By the beginning of winter the people were in a rebellious 
frame of mind, and only an overt act and a leader were needed 
to produce an explosion. Both came soon enough. On 
December 1, 1677, the Carolina, "a very pretty vessell of 
some force," Captain Zachariah Gillam in command, arrived 
from England and cast anchor in Pasquotank River. Gillam 
had scarcely stepped ashore when Miller arrested him on a 
charge of having violated the Navigation Act and held him to 


bail in £1,000 sterling. Here was the overt act; and Gillam 
shrewdly took advantage of it. He threatened to weigh 
anchor and carry his cargo out of the country, but the people, 
aroused to action by the prospect of losing such an oppor- 
tunity for trade, beset him with entreaties to stay, pledging 
their support against the governor. The leader too was at 
hand, for' on board the Carolina, returning from London, 
was George Durant. While in London, Durant had heard with 
astonishment of the appointment of his enemy, Eastchurch, 
as governor and had boldly "declared to some of y e Prop" 
that Eastchurch should not be Governo r & threatened to 
revolt." News of his threat had probably preceded him to 
Albemarle ; at any rate, in his presence Miller scented danger 
and determined to forestall it. At midnight of the day of 
Durant 's arrival, Miller forced his way into the cabin of the 
Carolina, armed "with a brace of pistolls," and "present- 
ing one of them cockt to M r . Geo. Durants breast & w th his 
other hand arrested him as a Tray tour. ' ' 

The assault on Durant was the signal for revolt. Byrd, 
Culpepper, and other leaders hastened aboard the Carolina 
where, in conference with Durant, they planned to overthrow 
Miller and seize the government. About forty "Pasquotan- 
kians," armed by Gillam from the Carolina, rallied to their 
support and surrounding Miller's house, made him a pris- 
oner, seized the tobacco he had collected on the king's account, 
and took possession of the public records. They then 
dispatched armed parties throughout the colony to arrest 
other officials, among whom was Deputy-Collector Biggs, and 
issued a "Remonsti'ance," or an appeal for support to "all 
the Rest of the County of Albemarle." They had arrested 
Miller and seized the public records, they declared, "that 
thereby the Countrey may have a free parlem 1 & that from 
them their aggrievances may be sent home to the Lords"; 
and they urged the people to choose representatives to an 
Assembly which should meet at once at Durant 's house. To 
Durant 's plantation, therefore, the victorious rebels with 
their prisoners proceeded by water, and as the little flotilla 
which bore them to the place of rendezvous dropped down the 
Pasquotank River, the Carolina, lying at anchor off Craw- 
ford's wharf, exultantly flung her flags and pennons to the 
breeze and fired a triumphant salvo from her great guns. 

The appeal of the rebels to the people met with a ready 
response, and from all parts of Albemarle armed men flocked 
to Durant 's plantation. Among Miller's effects the rebels 


had found the Great Seal of the province, the use of which 
gave color of authority to their acts, and while Gillam kept 
the crowd in a good humor by a free distribution of rum and 
whiskey which he had brought from the Carolina, Durant 
and other leaders proceeded to organize a government. First 
of all, the Assembly consisting of eighteen delegates chosen by 
the people, met and elected five of their members who, 
together with Eichard Foster, who alone of the Lords Pro- 
prietors' deputies had adhered to the rebels, were to form the 
Council. Before this Council Miller and the other prisoners 
were brought for trial. In all their proceedings, the rebels 
scrupulously observed the usual legal forms. Culpepper was 
appointed clerk, Durant attorney-general, a grand jury was 
summoned, indictments were presented and true bills returned 
with due formality. They were proceeding to impanel a petit 
jury when a bomb was suddenly thrown into their camp. This 
was nothing less than a message from Eastchurch who, with 
his bride, had arrived in Virginia and learning of the situa- 
tion in Albemarle, had sent his proclamation which, as Miller 
feelingly said, came "at y e very nicke of tyme," commanding 
the rebels to disperse and abandon their illegal proceedings. 
This sudden turn of affairs presented a serious question to 
the rebels. Whatever justification they may have had for 
revolt against Miller, they could not charge Eastchurch with 
tyranny and oppression, nor could they deny his legal title 
and authority as governor, for he bore a commission from the 
Lords Proprietors. Nevertheless, resolved to carry their 
revolt through to a successful issue, they hastily "elapt Miller 
in irons," declared that if Eastchurch attempted to come to 
Albemarle "they would serve him y e same sauce," and sent 
an armed force to the Virginia border to prevent his enter- 
ing the province. Eastchurch appealed to the governor of 
Virginia for military aid which was readily promised him, 
but his sudden death before assistance could be given removed 
all danger to the Albemarle rebels from that quarter. 

Now that the rebels had a free hand, prudence character- 
ized their conduct. They dropt the proceedings against Mil- 
ler and the other deposed officials ; convened a free Assembly, 
organized courts, and conducted the government "by their 
owne authority & according to their owne modell." To secure 
funds for the support of the government, the Assembly ap- 
pointed Culpepper collector and instructed him to take pos- 
session of the revenues which Miller had collected. The colony 
had quieted down and everything was running smoothlv when 


the escape of Timothy Biggs and his flight to England, brought 
sharply to the attention of the rebels the necessity of having 
their case properly presented to the Lords Proprietors. The 
Assembly, therefore, commissioned Culpepper to go to Eng- 
land to assure the Lords Proprietors of their allegiance, but 
at the same time to "insist very highly for right against Mil- 
ler." They denied the authority neither of the Proprietors 
nor of the Crown, and did not regard their conduct as rebel- 
lion. The Lords Proprietors, for reasons to be explained, 
-were willing to accept this view, and Culpepper was on the 
point of returning to Albemarle in triumph, when the situa- 
tion took a sudden and more serious turn. 

Miller having escaped from prison had hastened to Lon- 
don and laid his case before the king in Council. Inasmuch 
as Miller in his capacity as collector, was a crown official, his 
arrest and removal from office, the appointment of Culpepper 
in his stead, and the seizure of the customs, were offences 
against the royal authority which the crown officials were not 
willing to overlook. The Privy Council accordingly ordered 
that Culpepper be held without bail in England pending a full 
investigation of the affair: and directed the Lords Proprie- 
tors to present a complete account of the rebellion in Albe- 
marle together "with an authentick Copy of their Charter." 
Apprehensive that this might mean a suit to void their char- 
ter for failure to maintain an orderly government in their 
colony, the Lords Proprietors were anxious to minimize the 
rebellion as much as possible. Accordingly, though compelled 
to admit the fact of rebellion, they enlarged upon the crimes 
of Miller and his lack of authority to administer the govern- 
ment. They could not, however, gloss over the resistance to 
the king's collector, and the seizure of the king's revenues, 
for Culpepper acknowledged the facts and threw himself 
upon the mercy of the king. But the commissioners of cus- 
toms urged "that no favor may be shewed him unless he 
make or procure satisfaction for the Customs seized and 
embeseled by him, ' ' and recommended that he be arrested and 
brought to trial for embezzlement and treason. Thereupon 
the Lords Proprietors came to his rescue on the first charge, 
by agreeing "to procure by their authority and influence in 
Carolina" a satisfactory settlement of the debt; and Shaftes- 
bury, undoubtedly with the sanction of his associates, suc- 
cessfully defended him against the charge of treason on the 
plea that at the time of the rebellion there was no legal gov- 
ernment in Albemarle. 


On the whole, the Lords Proprietors met this crisis in their 
affairs wisely. Amid the clamor of contending factions, they 
found it impossible to discriminate between truth and false- 
hood, to distinguish the innocent from the guilty, to pro- 
nounce judgment with impartial justice; and as they were 
much more eager to restore peace and the reign of law in their 
province than they were to punish those who had disturbed 
its repose, they declined to follow the advice of Biggs and 
Miller who urged them to employ force in suppressing the 
rebellion; and they found an excuse if not a justification for 
the conduct of the rebels not only in the crimes and tyranny 
of Miller, but also in the fact that he had attempted to act as 
governor " without any legall authority." Considering the 
disorders in Albemarle the result of factions, they were desir- 
ous of finding a governor who was not a partisan of either 
side, and who possessed the character and position to com- 
mand the respect of both. Such a man they thought they had 
in Seth Sothel who had recently became a Lord Proprietor by 
the purchase of Clarendon's interest. His associates thought 
him "a sober, moderate man," "no way concerned in the fac- 
tions and animosityes"' of Albemarle, and possessed of the 
ability to "settle all things well" in their turbulent colony; 
and as he was willing to undertake the task, they appointed 
him governor and at the same time procured his appointment 
as collector. But on his way to Carolina, Sothel was captured 
and held to ransom by Algerian pirates. 

Pending Sothel 's release, the Lords Proprietors commis- 
sioned John Harvey governor and the commissioners of the 
customs appointed Eobert Holden collector. Both were satis- 
factory to the people of Albemarle who "Quyetly and 
cherefully obeyed ,: them. After a brief official life, Har- 
vey died in office, and the Council selected John Jen- 
kins as his successor. In this selection the Lords Proprie- 
tors acquiesced. It was a clear victory for the Durant 
party, now completely in the ascendancy. "Although Jen- 
kins had the title [of governor]" the other faction truth- 
fully asserted, "yet in fact Durant governed and used Jen- 
kins but as his property." It was fortunate for the colony 
that this was so. The Durant party was the only group in 
the colony strong enough to administer a government suc- 
cessfully and to assure order, and George Durant, its leader, 
possessed many of the qualities of statesmanship. Under his 
leadership, order was restored, the laws were enforced, the 
king's customs were collecte 1 "without anv disturbance 


from the people," a tax was levied on the colony to refund 
the revenues seized and used by the rebels "in the tynie of the 
disorders"; and the Assembly passed an act of oblivion cov- 
ering offenses committed during the rebellion. Miller, Biggs, 
and their followers complained bitterly of the conduct of the 
government and endeavored to stir up resistance to it, but 
the people had had enough of strife, and the Lords Proprie- 
tors were wearied with factious complaints. They stood 
squarely behind the constituted authorities in their colony, 
with the result that in November, 1680, they were able to 
report that in Albemarle "all things are in quyet and his 
Maj ,yes Customes quyetly paid by the People." 

Unhappily this state of affairs was destined to be of short 
duration. In 1683, Seth Sothel, who had been released from 
captivity, arrived in Albemarle bearing a commission as gov- 
ernor. John Fiske is guilty of no exaggeration when he says 
of Sothel: "In five years of misrule over. Albemarle he 
proved himself one of the dirtiest knaves that ever held office 
in America." 3 As a Lord Proprietor, he considered himself 
above the law. He disregarded the instructions of the Lords 
Proprietors; appointed deputies illegally and "refused to 
suffer any to act as Deputy who had deputations under the 
hand and seale of the Prop rs "; and acted "contrary to all the 
fundamental Constitutions." He had been in office but a 
short time when he received a sharp reprimand from his asso- 
ciates, who informed him that no man could "claime any 
power in Carolina but by virtue of them [Fundamental Con- 
stitutions] for no prop' 01 ' single by virture of our patents 
hath any right to the Governm 1 or to exercise any Jurisdic- 
tion there unless Impowered by the rest." Complaints soon 
began to pour in upon them from the people charging Sothel 
with corruption, robbery, and tyranny. He withheld from 
subordinate officials and put into his own pocket the perquis- 
ites of their offices. He accepted bribes from criminals. He 
seized without ceremony and appropriated to his own use 
whatever pleased his fancy, whether a plantation, a negro 
slave, a cow, or a pewter dish; and if the owner had the ef- 
frontery to object he locked him up. He arrested and impris- 
oned two traders arriving in Albemarle on pretense of their 
being pirates, although both produced proper clearance 
papers showing them to be lawful traders, threw them into 
prison, and seized their goods. One of them died in prison 

3 Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. II. p. 286. 


leaving a will naming Thomas Pollock as executor; but Sothel 
refused to admit the will to probate, and when Pollock threat- 
ened to appeal to the Lords Proprietors, he "Imprisoned him 
without showing him any reason or permitting him to see a 
copy of his mittimus. ' ' George Durant indignantly denounced 
such unlawful proceedings, whereupon Sothel threw him into 
prison and confiscated his whole estate "without any process 
or collor of law and converted the same to yo r [his] owne use." 

The people of Albemarle endured Sothel 's tyranny until 
1688. Then doubtless inspired by the Eevolution in England 
they rose against the tyrant, deposed him from office, and 
prepared to pack him off to England for trial. But Sothel, 
who feared the wrath of his associates more than the ven- 
geance of the colonists, begged that he might be tried by the 
General Assembly of Albemarle. He felt sure that the As- 
sembly, though it might remove him from office, would not 
venture to impose a prison sentence, and in this he calculated 
correctly. The Assembly found him guilty, banished him 
from the province for one year, and declared him forever 
incapable of holding office in Albemarle. The prudence of 
the Assembly brought its reward. The Lords Proprietors, 
worn out with the everlasting strife and disorders in their 
colony, were at first inclined to censure the Assembly, and 
veto its proceedings, which they declared to be "prejudicial 
to the prerogative of the Crown and the honor and dignity 
of us the prop tors "; but afterwards, becoming convinced of 
Sothel 's guilt, they removed him from office and wrote to the 
people of their colony : ' ' Wee were extremely troubled when 
wee heard of the sufferings of the Inhabitants of North Caro- 
lina by the arbitrary proceedings of Mr. Seth Sothel which un- 
just and Illegal actions wee abhor and have taken the best 
care wee can to prevent such for the future And that all men 
may have right done them who have suffered by him." 

Seth Sothel was the last governor of Albemarle; his suc- 
cessor, Philip Ludwell, was commissioned "Governor of that 
part of our Province of Carolina that lyes north and east of 
Cape feare. " In the letter to the Assembly, quoted above, the 
attentive reader will have observed that the Lords Proprietors 
referred to the people of that region as the "Inhabitants of 
North Carolina." The phrase is significant. It indicates not 
only the growth and expansion of Albemarle, but also points to 
a change in the policy of the Lords Proprietors. They had 
abandoned their original plan of erecting several separate and 
distinct governments in their province; henceforth there were 


to be but two, — one, of which the Ashley River settlement was 
the nucleus, was to be the colony of South Carolina ; the other, 
developing out of Albemarle, was to be North Carolina. With 
the expulsion of Sothel, therefore, the history of Albemarle 
ends and the history of North Carolina as such begins. 


With the appointment of Philip Ludwell as governor, 
North Carolina entered upon a brief period of order and 
progress. Ludwell 's instructions reflected the purpose of the 
Lords Proprietors "to take care of the quiet and safety of 
the provinces under our [their] Governm 1 ." The first task, 
therefore, which they imposed upon him was to bring order 
out of the chaos into which the colony had been plunged 
by the misgovernment of Seth Sothel. He was to see that 
their letter to Sothel removing him from office was "carefully 
delivered to his own hands " ; to inquire into the causes of the 
revolt against him; and to appoint a commission of "three of 
the honestest and ablest men" in the province not concerned 
in the revolt to hear and determine "according to Law" all 
complaints "both Civill and Criminall" growing out of his 
conduct. If Ludwell found anvthing in his instructions "de- 
ficient or Inconvenient to y e Inhabitants," he was to report it 
to the Lords Proprietors who promised to "take due care 
therein." Their readiness to hear and redress the grievances 
of their people had a good effect, the result of which was seen 
at the very beginning of Ludwell 's administration in the fail- 
ure of a Captain John Gibbs, a rival claimant to the governor- 
ship, to arouse any popular sympathy with his cause. 

Under other circumstances, Gibbs' bombastic pronuncia- 
mento, now thought of only as a ludicrous and amusing inci- 
dent, might easily have led to serious results. The grounds 
upon which "Governor Gibbs" based his claims are not cer- 
tain ; one plausible suggestion is that he had been elected by 
the Council upon the expulsion of Sothel; another is that he 
had been appointed by Sothel himself as his deputy. But 
whatever his grounds, he was not backward in asserting his 
claims which he set forth in a remarkable proclamation dated 
"Albemarle, June y 8 2 d 1690." He asserted his right to the 
office of governor, denounced Ludwell as a "Rascal, imposter, 
& Usurp 1 ," and commanded "all Persons to keep the Kings 



peace, to consult y e ffundainentals, and to render me [him] 
due obedience, & not presume to act or do by Virtue of any 
Commission or Power whatsoever derived from y e above s d 
Ludwell, as they will answer itt, att their utmost perill." 
His claim, he declared, would "be justified in England and 
if any of the boldest Heroe living in this or the next County 
will undertake to Justine the said Ludwell 's illegal Irregular 
proceeding, let him call upon me w a his sword, and I will single 
out & goe with him into any part of the King's Dominions, & 
there fight him in this Cause, as long as my Eyelids shall 
wagg. ' ' 

The valiant captain was as good as his word. Four 
days after issuing his challenge, he led a band of armed fol- 
lowers into Currituck precinct, broke up the precinct court 
then sitting, made two of the magistrates prisoners, and issued 
an order forbidding any court ' ' to sitt or act by any Commis- 
sion but his." But if he expected a popular uprising in his 
behalf, such as had followed the "Remonstrance" of the 
"Pasquotankians" against Miller in 1677, he was doomed to 
disappointment. The people, conciliated by the attitude of the 
Lords Proprietors in the Sothel affair, were in no mood for 
further violence or rebellion ; indignant at the outrage perpe- 
trated upon their court, they rallied to the support of lawful 
government, sprang to arms, and chased "Governor Gibbs" 
and his band out of the province. Gibbs took refuge in Vir- 
ginia where Governor Nicholson, at Ludwell 's request, took a 
hand in the affair and speedily brought him to terms. Both 
Ludwell and his bellicose rival thereupon embarked for Eng- 
land to lay their dispute before the Lords Proprietors who 
promptly repudiated the latter. 

Upon his return from England, in 1691, Ludwell brought 
a new set of instructions based, as the Lords Proprietors pri- 
vately informed him, not upon the Fundamental Constitu- 
tions, but upon their charter from the Crown. This was an 
important concession to the political sentiment of the people 
who had never accepted the Fundamental Constitutions, and 
its practical effect was to relegate that document to its place 
among the many abortive schemes which well-meaning theor- 
ists since the beginning of time have devised for the govern- 
ment of mankind. One of the objects of the new instructions 
was to strengthen the colonial government, a necessity plainly 
demonstrated by recent events in both the Carolinas. Greater 
dignity was to be given the executive authority by placing 
both North Carolina and South Carolina under a single gov- 
ernor whose hands were to be strengthened by eliminating 

Vol. 1—5 

Governor Philip Ludwell 

From a portrait in possession of Bennehan Cameron 


from the Council the five members chosen by the General 
Assembly, thus leaving the Council to be composed exclusively 
of the deputies of the Lords Proprietors. The legislative de- 
partment was to undergo a similar consolidation. There was 
to be but one General Assembly for the two colonies to which 
each of the four counties of Albemarle, Colleton, Berkeley, 
and Craven was to send five representatives. Such at least 
was the plan on paper, but it was never carried into effect 
because upon second thought the Lords Proprietors saw insu- 
perable difficulties in the way. Additional instructions, 
therefore, were issued providing that, if it was found "Im- 
practicable for to have the Inhabitants of Albemarle County 
to send Delegates to the General Assembly held at South 
Carolina," each colony should continue to hold its own As- 
sembly. At the same time the governor was authorized to 
appoint a deputy-governor for North Carolina, a provision 
later extended to South Carolina also. The two governments, 
therefore, continued separate and independent of each other. 
The development of North Carolina had been too slow 
to keep pace with the plans and expectations of the Lords 
Proprietors, who sharply reprimanded the Albemarle planters 
for their failure to open up the wilderness between Albemarle 
and Charleston. But the Lords Proprietors did not under- 
stand the difficulties in the way. Wide sounds, broad rivers, 
dense forests, almost impenetrable swamps made progress 
difficult. Shallow inlets and shifting sands barred access to 
the markets of the world, placed the trade of North Carolina 
at the mercy of competing Virginia planters and shrewd New 
England merchants, and retarded the development of agri- 
culture and commerce. Hostile Indians roamed the wilder- 
ness, committed many depredations and murders, and twice 
during the decade from 1665 to 1675 openly went on the war- 
path. There were, too, as we have seen, numerous causes for 
discontent which discouraged immigration and deterred the 
settlers already in Albemarle from undertaking new enter- 
prises. Culpepper's Rebellion completely disorganized the 
government and for more than two years kept the colony in 
turmoil. The land question also checked immigration. Since 
the terms on which land was granted in Albemarle were less 
favorable than those which prevailed in Virginia, people were 
naturally slow to abandon the older colony for the new one; 
and even after the Great Deed partially removed this discrimi- 
nation, the uncertainty of the titles by which the Albemarle 
planters held their lands discouraged others from joining 
them. Still another deterrent to new enterprises was the 


minor that the other Lords Proprietors intended to sell their 
interests in Albemarle to Sir William Berkeley. In spite of all 
these difficulties, a few adventurers, hardier and bolder, or 
more restless than their fellows, pushed across Albemarle 
Sound and attempted to open the way for settlements to the 
southward; but they were "with great violence and Injustice 
deprived of any power to proceed any further * and 

were commanded back to your [their] great prejudice and in- 
convenience" by colonial officials "who had ingrosit y e Indian 
trade to themselves & feared that it would be intercepted by 
those who should plant farther amongst them." 

A serious obstacle to the growth and prosperity of North 
Carolina was the hostile conduct of Virginia throughout the 
proprietary period. From her superior position as a crown 
colony, Virginia looked down with unconcealed disdain upon 
all the proprietary colonies around her, but North Carolina 
was the special object of her aversion. The very existence of 
that colony was an affront to Virginia. It had been carved 
out of her ancient domain. It had been populated largely at 
her expense. It offered keen competition in the staple upon 
which her prosperity was founded. Its free and democratic 
society was in sharp contrast to the more aristocratic sys- 
tem that prevailed in the Old Dominion. Whatever checked 
the growth and development of North Carolina, therefore, 
Virginians regarded as indirectly promoting the interests of 
Virginia. This end they sought to accomplish in various 
ways. They spread abroad evil reports of the people of North 
Carolina. They attempted to undermine her economic pros- 
perity by hostile legislation forbidding the shipment of North 
Carolina tobacco through Virginia ports. They encouraged 
Indians to advance claims to lands which the latter had form- 
ally ceded by treaty to the Lords Proprietors, and shielded 
Indian thieves who preyed upon the horses, cattle and hogs of 
North Carolina planters. They pretended ignorance of the 
charter of 1665 and laying claim to the region which that char- 
ter had added to the Carolina grant, undertook to close it to 
North Carolina settlers. 

Two laws passed by the Albemarle Assembly in 1669 de- 
signed to encourage immigration, — i. e. the stay-law and the 
law exempting new settlers from taxation for one year — were 
especially resented by the Virginians, who declared that they 
were nothing less than open invitations to rogues and vaga- 
bonds. Yet the former was an exact copy of the Virginia 
statute of 1642 which the Virginia Assembly carefully re- 
enacted in 1663 because it had been inadvertentlv omitted 


from a printed collection of the Virginia laws. The Albe- 
marle Assembly even copied the Virginia preamble which set 
forth as the reason for the statute that many people had 
"through their engagements in England, forsaken their 
native country and repaired hither, with resolution to abide 
here, hoping in time to gain some competency of subsistence 
by their labors, yet, nevertheless, their creditors, hearing of 
their abode in the colony, have prosecuted them with their 
actions to the ruin of said debtors." Unquestionably some 
scoundrels took advantage of the Albemarle statute, just as 
others had taken advantage of the Virginia law, but hardly 
enough of them came to justify Virginia's taunts and re- 
proaches. "Rogues Harbour" was a favorite Virginia epi- 
thet for Albemarle. Advertent to the opportunities the stat- 
ute offered to persons in an adjoining community to defraud 
their creditors, and attentive to the complaints of their neigh- 
bor, the North Carolina Assembly in 1707 exempted settlers 
from Virginia from the protection of the statute ; nevertheless 
this friendly act did not sooth the ruffled feelings of the Vir- 
ginians, and the "substantial planters" and industrious serv- 
ants whom they earnestly tried to keep in Virginia continued 
to become immediately upon crossing the boundary line into 
North Carolina "idle debtors," "theeves," "pyrates," and 
' ' runaway servants. ' ' The people of North Carolina naturally 
resented these misrepresentations, and finally Governor 
Walker was goaded by Governor Nicholson's continued "inti- 
mations concerning runaways" into sharply repelling the 
"imputation of evil neighbourhood" which he had cast upon 
the eolony. 

Not content with fixing a bad name upon North Carolina, 
the Virginians undertook to destroy the source of her eco- 
nomic welfare. Tobacco was the staple of both colonies and 
the Virginia planters early became alarmed at the competition 
to which the increasing production of Albemarle subjected 
them. In 1679, the commissioners of the customs wrote 
that "the quantity of Tobacco that groweth in Carolina is 
considerable & Increaseth every year but it will not appear 
by the Customhouse bookes what customes have been received 
in England for the same for that by reason of the Badness of 
the Harbours in those parts most of the Tobaccos of the 
growth of those Countreyes have been and are Carryed from 
thence in Sloops and small fetches to Virginia & New Eng- 
land & from thence shipped hither. So that the Entries here 
[London] are as from Virgin 1 & New England although the 
Tobacco be of the growth of Carolina & Albemarle. ' : The 


Virginia planters bad long sought a way to destroy this com- 
petition, and finally in 1679 the Assembly came to their relief 
by forbidding the importation of tobacco from Carolina into 
Virginia, or its exportation through Virginia ports. This act 
was re-enacted in 1705, and again in 1726. It was a hard blow 
for North Carolina and did not tend to improve her relations 
with her neighbor. 

Another cause for indignation against Virginia was her 
action in taking under her protection a band of straggling Me- 
herrin Indians who, near the close of the seventeenth century, 
had moved from "their ancient place of habitation" north 
of the Meherrin River, and placing themselves at its mouth, 
had "planted corne and built Cabbins" on the lands which the 
Chowanocs, after the war of 1675-76, had ceded to the Lords 
Proprietors of Carolina. Their presence there was a con- 
stant menace to the peace of the province. They preyed upon 
the planters, drove off their hogs and cattle, destroyed their 
crops, and committed numerous murderous assaults upon 
their persons, and the planters retaliated with usury. To 
remove the danger, the North Carolina authorities negotiated 
a treaty with the Indians which required them "to return to 
the place of their former habitation," but the Virginia gov- 
ernment intervened, assured the Meherrins of its support 
and protection, and induced them to refuse to carry out 
their agreement. Col. Thomas Pollock was then sent to remove 
them by force. With a band of sixty men, he attacked their 
town, took a large number of prisoners, and threatened "to 
burn their Cabbins and destroy their Corne if they did not 
remove from that place. ' ; Virginia promptly called upon 
North Carolina to disavow Pollock's act and demanded his 
punishment. That colony set up a claim to the lands on which 
the Meherrins had settled, declared that "the said Indians 
have their dependence upon and are under the protection of 
this Government," and denounced the "Clandestine Treaty" 
between them an ' the North Carolina government as deroga- 
tory to the rights and dignity of Virginia. The Virginia 
Council dismissed with contempt the statement of facts, as well 
as the arguments, of the North Carolina government, although 
as stated by the latter the question involved was "whether 
near a hundred familys of her Majty's subjects of Carolina 
should be disseased of their freehold to lett a few vagrant and 
Insolent Indians rove where they please without any Eight 
and Contrary to their Agreement." Encouraged by Vir- 
ginia's attitude, the Meherrins continued over a period of 
years to disregard their treaty, and growing more and more 


insolent, committed repeated depredations upon the property 
and assaults upon the persons of the Carolina planters, "sup- 
posing," as Governor Hyde complained in a letter to the gov- 
ernor of Virginia, "they can have protection from you." 

Virginia's concern for these Indians was not inspired by 
any philanthropic interest in their welfare, but by the fact 
that in their fate was involved her claim to the region which 
they had occupied. This claim North Carolina disputed. The 
dispute arose from the fact that the exact location of the 
dividing line between the two colonies had never been ascer- 
tained and many of the settlers who entered lands along the 
frontier, ignorant that they were within the Carolina grant, 
had taken out patents from Virginia. Consequently when the 
Carolina government, in 1680, claimed jurisdiction over them 
and demanded payment of quit rents and taxes, Virginia en- 
tered a vigorous protest, declaring that those settlers were 
inhabitants of Virginia and must not "be in any sort molested 
disturbed or Griev'd" by the North Carolina authorities. The 
controversy thus precipitated was destined to strain the 
friendly relations of the two colonies for more than half a 
century. It grew in intensity as time passed and other ques- 
tions arose to add fuel to the flames. The jurisdiction of the 
courts became involved, and on one occasion at least, court 
officials of the two provinces actually came into armed con- 

The origin of the controversy may be traced to the change 
which the second charter of the Lords Proprietors made in 
the northern boundary of Carolina. The charter of 1663 
fixed the boundary at the 36th parallel of northern latitude ; 
the charter of 1665 fixed it in a line to be run from "the north 
end of Currituck river or inlet, upon a strait westerly line 
to Wyonoak creek, which lies within or about the degrees of 
thirty-six and thirty minutes, northern latitude, and so west, 
in a direct line, as far as the south seas." As early as 1681 
the Lords Proprietors petitioned the Crown to have the line 
run as thus described; but Virginia having privately ascer- 
tained that such a line would defeat her claims, questioned 
the existence of the "p r tended latt r Grant to the Lords Pro- 
pryet™ of Carolina. ' ; On this point, however, she was easily 
beaten by an inspection of the record. The dispute was there- 
upon shifted to the location of the natural objects along the 
line as described in the charter. The chief point at issue 
was the identity of Weyanoke Creek. AVeyanoke Creek was 
doubtless a well known stream in 1665, but with the passage 
of years it had lost that name which by 1680 had disappeared 


from the map. Virginia maintained that it was identical with 
Wicocon Creek, while North Carolina as stoutly insisted that 
it was the same as Nottoway River, and both colonies easily 
secured testimony from early settlers to sustain their con- 
tentions. The difference was too considerable to be given 
up without a contest, since it involved a strip of territory 
fifteen miles in width. 

The chief sufferers in these controversies were the inhabi- 
tants of the disputed territory who were of course anxious 
to have the line fixed. Accordingly in 1699 the Crown ordered 
that it be run as called for by the charter of 1665. Governor 
Harvey promptly sent Daniel Akehurst and Henderson 
Walker to Virginia as commissioners to represent North 
Carolina ; but the Virginia officials alleging that Harvey had 
not been f ormally confirmed in his office by the king, refused 
to recognize his commissioners and informed him that ''it is 
not convenient with us to treat with any person or persons 
by you appointed." After this experience, North Carolina, 
suspecting that Virginia's purpose was to resist indefinitely 
the settlement of the dispute and satisfied that her own 
claims were well founded, proceeded as if her title to the 
territory was beyond controversy. Virginia too began to sus- 
pect that she could not make good her pretensions. In 1705 
the Virginia Council ordered the official surveyor of that 
province to ascertain "whether the line between this Govern- 
ment and North Carolina if run according to the patent of 
the Lords Proprietors may cut off any plantations held by 
titles from this Government, ' ' at the same time directing him 
"to keep secret the intentions of this Government * * * 
that the people of North Carolina may have no other suspi- 
cion than that those Surveyors are only going about laying 
the Maherin Indians lands." 

Nothing more was done until 1709 when both colonies re- 
ceived orders from the queen to settle the dispute. North 
Carolina accordingly appointed John Lawson and Edward 
Moseley as her commissioners, while Virginia was repre- 
sented by Philip Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison. After sev- 
eral failures to arrange a meeting, the commissioners finally 
came together at Williamsburg, August 30, 1710. The attitude 
of the Virginians doomed the enterprise to failure from the 
first. No good thing could come out of Nazareth. In every act 
of the Carolina commissioners, the Virginians detected some 
ulterior, dishonest motive. They accused both Lawson and 
Moseley of a secret purpose "to obstruct the Settling the 
Boundary?," charging that they were privately interested in 



the lands in dispute. The witnesses cited by the North 
Carolina commissioners were all "very Ignorant persons, & 
most of them of ill fame & Reputation," while those called by 
Virginia were "Persons of good Credit." If Moseley raised 
legal objections to the powers conferred upon the Virginia 
commissioners, it was "with design to render their confer- 
ences ineffectual"; if he questioned the accuracy of their in- 
struments, it was merely one of his "many Shifts & Excuses 
to disappoint all Conferences with the Commissioners of Vir- 
ginia"; if his statement of a fact did not correspond with 
what the Virginians understood it to be, it was set down to 
his propensity to ' ' prevarication. ' ' Such at least the Virginia 
commissioners, in their efforts to prejudice the Proprietors' 
case, set down in the report they wrote for the Crown, a re- 
port afterwards severely criticised in his "History of the 
Dividing Line,' ; by Col. William Byrd, one of the Vir- 
ginia commissioners when the line was finally run in 1728. 
Colonel Byrd thought that "it had been fairer play" to have 
furnished Lawson and Moseley a copy of the report thus 
giving them an opportunity to answer the charges against 
them; confessed that Moseley "was not much in the wrong 
to find fault with the Quadrant produced by the Surveyors 
of Virginia" as it was afterwards shown "that there was 
an Error of near 30 minutes, either in the instrument or in 
those who made use of it"; and admitted after careful sur- 
veys that the Nottoway River was probably the same as 
Weyanoke Creek. The spirit with which the Virginia com- 
missioners approached their task in 1710 and their uncom- 
promising attitude made agreement impossible and served 
only to intensify the ill-feeling between the two colonies. 

For a long time the Lords Proprietors did not appreciate 
the obstacles against which their colony was struggling. They 
looked upon its inhabitants as a sluggish, unenterprising peo- 
ple who neither understood their own nor regarded the Pro- 
prietors' interests; upbraided them for their failure to open 
communications between the Albemarle colony and the Ashley 
River settlement, and declared that to be the reason why they 
had neglected the former in the interest of the latter. 

There were not wanting, however, intelligent colonists in 
North Carolina who labored diligently to present the situa- 
tion to the Lords Proprietors in its true light. As early as 
1665, Thomas Woodward, surveyor-general, wrote them 
plainly that settlers would not come to Albemarle upon harder 
conditions than they could secure in Virginia. Thomas East- 
church presented facts which forced them to acknowledge 


that the fault was not with the people but with "those persons 
into whose hands wee [they] had committed the Government," 
Timothy Biggs bluntly told them that Albemarle owed 
nothing to them, and declared that if it - had received but a 
tenth part of the aid and encouragement which they had given 
to the Ashley River settlement it would have been a prosper- 
ous colony. The truth gradually dawned upon the Lords Pro- 
prietors who tardily took steps to relieve the situation as far 
as possible. They granted more liberal terms for land-hold- 
ing; instructed their governors to issue patents to landown- 
ers; assured the settlers that they had no intention of part- 
ing with Albemarle to Governor Berkeley or "to any persons 
whatsoever"; and appointed a governor for the region south 
of Albemarle Sound whom they instructed to encourage set- 
tlements along Pamlico and Neuse rivers. But more impor- 
tant than all of these reforms was the decade and a half of 
good government which began with the appointment of Lud- 
well in 1691. 

Ludwell, appointed December 2, 1691, was the first gov- 
ernor of Carolina. His deputies in North Carolina were 
Thomas Jarvis (1691-1694) and Thomas Harvey (1694-1699). 
In 1693, Thomas Smith succeeded Ludwell, but retired within 
iess than a year and was succeeded by John Archdale. Both 
Smith and Archdale continued Harvey in power as deputy- 
governor of North Carolina. L x pon the death of Harvey in 
1699, Henderson Walker, president of the Council, took over 
the administration in North Carolina which he conducted 
until the appointment of Col. Robert Daniel in 1703. Dur- 
ing the decade and a half in which these men administered 
the government, North Carolina enjoyed such a reign of law 
and order as she had not known before. Her governors 
brought to their task greater abilities, better personal char- 
acters, and larger experiences in colonial affairs, than any 
of their predecessors. Ludwell had been active for many 
years in the public affairs of Virginia where he had won a 
reputation for courage, integrity, and devotion to the public 
interests. As governor of North Carolina, he showed that 
he "understood the character and prejudices of the people 
thoroughly ; and as he was possessed of good sense and proper 
feeling, he had address enough * * gradually to re- 

store a state of comparative peace." l He made himself ac- 
ceptable to the people by recognizing the validity of the 
Great Deed, but by the same act incurred the displeasure of 

1 Hawks: History of North Carolina, Vol. II, p. 494. 


the Lords Proprietors who, unable to find any record of that 
document in England, repudiated his action and revoked his 
commission. John Archdale, the Quaker governor (1694- 
1697), like Seth Sothel, was a Lord Proprietor, but he was 
like Sothel in nothing else. He was appointed governor be- 
cause his predecessor, Governor Smith, advised the Lords 
Proprietors that it was impossible to settle the dis- 
orders which had broken out in South Carolina "except 
a Proprietor himself was sent over with full power to 
heal grievances." Archdale 's sagacity, prudence, and sound 
judgment, together with his experience in colonial af- 
fairs, pointed him out as the man for the task and he was 
given extraordinary powers for dealing with the situa- 
tion. The confidence of his colleagues was justified by 
the results in both colonies. As a Quaker, Archdale was par- 
ticularly acceptable in North Carolina where since 1672 the 
Quakers had grown numerous and influential. He spent the 
winter of 1696-97 in North Carolina personally directing the 
government; there his deep religious faith and impeccable 
personal character tended to encourage religion and morality, 
while his administration of public affairs was so successful as 
to elicit from the Assembly the tribute that "his greatest care 
is to make peace and plenty flow amongst us." Both Jarvis 
and Harvey, deputies of Ludwell and Archdale, had long 
been leaders in North Carolina affairs, understood and sym- 
pathized with the feelings and ideals of the people, and were 
men of excellent character and good judgment. Henderson 
Walker, who succeeded Harvey in 1699, had been in the col- 
ony for seventeen years and had served as attorney-general, 
justice of the General Court, and member of the Council. A 
man of education, a lawyer of ability, a Churchman of sin- 
cere religious convictions, he was deeply interested in the 
material and the moral and spiritual welfare of the colony, 
jealous of its good name, and quick to resent the "imputa- 
tion of evil neighbourhood" which some of its neighbors en- 
deavored to fix upon it. These men gave to North Carolina 
fifteen years of good government under the stimulus of which 
the colony grew and prospered. 

Settlers pushing across the wide expanse of Albemarle 
Sound, slowly penetrated the wilderness to the southward. 


The way was probably opened by English pioneers from Al- 
bemarle, but the first settlers south of the Albemarle Sound 
of whom we have any record were French Protestants. The 
drastic measures of Louis XIV against the Huguenots, soon 
to culminate in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, were al- 


ready driving many of those industrious people from France 
to seek new homes in England and in English colonies. They 
possessed the qualities necessary to make good colonists, and 
the Lords Proprietors were eager to induce them to settle in 
Carolina. Doubtless with this object in view, in 1683, they had 
the Fundamental Constitutions, one clause of which guaran- 
teed religious freedom, translated into French. Large num- 
bers of Huguenots, in their search for religious freedom, as is 
well known, settled in South Carolina, while others found their 
way to North Carolina. The first Huguenot colonists in 
North Carolina came about 1690 from Virginia and settled on 
Pamlico River. Their enterprise quickly attracted the atten- 
tion of the Lords Proprietors who, in 1694, instructed Gov- 
ernor Archdale to erect in that region as many counties as 
he thought necessary "for y e better regulating and y e en- 
couragem 1 of y e people.' 1 Accordingly the region from Albe- 
marle Sound to Cape Fear was erected into the county of 
Archdale although none of the vast wilderness south of Pam- 
lico River was yet inhabited by white men. As the settle- 
ment on the Pamlico grew in importance, the colonial authori- 
ties thought it advisable to extend to it still further encour- 
agement. In 1696, therefore, the Palatine's Court ordered 
that the region extending from Albemarle Sound to Neuse 
River be erected into the county of Bath and given the privi- 
lege of sending two representatives to the General Assembly. 
About this time, too, a pestilence among the Indians decimated 
the tribes along the Pamlico and still further opened up that 
region to settlers who continued to arrive from Albemarle, 
from Virginia, and from Europe. 

Among the last were a "great many French Protestants" 
who came under the auspices of the king "depending upon 
the Royal assurance which was given for their encouraging 
the Exercise of the Protestant Religion and the benefit of 
the laws of England. v In 1704, on a bluff overlooking Pam- 
lico River, they selected a fine site for a town which a 
year later they incorporated under the name of Bath. In 
1709, when Bath was only five years old, William Gordon, a 
missionary, wrote that it "consists of about twelve houses, 
being the only town in the whole province. They have a small 
collection of books for a library, which were carried over by 
the Reverend Doctor Bray, and some land is laid out for a 
glebe; in all probability it will be the centre of 

trade, as having the advantage of a better inlet for shipping, 
and surrounded with most pleasant savannas, very useful for 
stocks of cattle.' 1 In spite of these fancied advantages, Bath, 


though at times the home of wealth and culture, never be- 
came anything more than a sleepy little village and derives 
its chief distinction from the unimportant fact that it was 
the first town in the province. The settlers on the Pamlico, 
however, prospered and their good reports induced others 
to join them. They declared, in 1704, that they had "at vast 
labour and expense recovered and improved great quantities 
of land thereabouts"; and this boast was borne out by the 
Council which, in December 1705, "taking into their serious 
consideration" the fact that Bath County had "grown popu- 
lous and [was] daily increasing," divided it into three pre- 
cincts, and conferred upon each of them the right to send 
two representatives to the General Assembly. One of these 
precincts embraced that portion of Bath County south of 
Pamlico River "including all the Inhabitants of News." 

The earliest settlers on the Neuse, like those on the Pam- 
lico, were Huguenots. For the most part, they came from 
Mannakintown, a French settlement in Virginia a few miles 
above the falls of the James, founded in 1699 by Claude Phil- 
lipe de Richebourg. They had not prospered there "be- 
cause," as Lawson says, "at their first coming over, they 
took their Measures of Living, from Europe; which was all 
wrong; for the small Quantities of ten, fifteen, and twenty 
Acres to a Family did not hold out according to their way 
of Reckoning, by Reason they made very little or no Fodder ; 
and the Winter there being much harder than with us, their 
Cattle failed; chiefly, because the English took up and sur- 
veved all the Land round about them; so that they were 
hemmed in on all Hands from providing more Land for them- 
selves or their Children. ' ' 2 The mildness of the climate in 
North Carolina, the ease with which lands could be entered 
there, and the favorable reports of their brethren on the Pam- 
lico lured many of them, including Richebourg himself, away 
from the James to seek new homes on the Neuse and the 
Trent. They brought with them the thrift, the industry, and 
the skill for which their race had been noted in the Old World, 
and the colony soon felt the effects of their presence. John 
Lawson, who visited their settlements in 1708, wrote of them: 
"They are much taken with the Pleasantness of that Coun- 
try, and, indeed, are a very industrious People. * 
The French are good Neighbours amongst us, and give Ex- 
amples of Industry, which is much wanted in this Country." * 

2 History of Carolina (ed. 1718), p. 114. 

3 Ibid., p. 83. 


In 1710, the Neuse River settlement was strengthened by 
the arrival of a colony of German and Swiss immigrants. 
This colony, in one important respect, differed widely from 
the other settlements then in North Carolina. All the other 
settlements were the outcome of individual initiative and en- 
terprise; this one was the result of organized effort. It was 
composed chiefly of natives of that region along the Rhine 
known as the Palatinate, whence the name Palatines by which 
they are generally called. Their story is a tragic one. Prot- 
estants in religion, they were under the dominion of an irre- 
sponsible Roman Catholic prince who subjected them to many 
forms of religious persecution. Their country was the battle- 
ground of Europe and in the barbarous and sanguinary wars 
of the seventeenth century was frequently overrun and devas- 
tated by hostile armies. To these misfortunes were added the 
burdens of exorbitant taxes and tolls which swept the greater 
part of their earnings into the coffers of their rulers. These 
conditions produced such widespread misery and hopeless 
poverty, that at the beginning of the eighteenth century many 
of them determined to seek relief by emigration. 

In this determination, they met with encouragement from 
England. Queen Anne, who looked upon herself as the guar- 
dian of the Protestants of Europe, eagerly extended both pro- 
tection and assistance to all Protestants who sought safety in 
her dominions. In this policy she received the support of 
the British nation, and Parliament, in 1709, passed a bill pro- 
viding for the naturalization of foreign Protestants. Gener- 
ous as this policy was, it was not altogether free from the 
taint of selfishness. England needed just such industrious 
an 1 thrifty people as the German Protestants for the devel- 
opment of her colonial empire. For mAny years, therefore, 
those who were interested in colonial enterprises carried on 
in Germany a widespread propaganda for the purpose of in- 
ducing emigration to America. More than fifty books, pam- 
phlets and broadsides relating to Pennsylvania alone were 
circulated in Germany. Among those whose attention this 
propaganda attracted was Rev. Joshua Kocherthal, a Luther- 
an clergyman at Landau in the Palatinate, who, in 1703, 
went to England, to seek relief for his own congregation. 
There he seems to have conferred with the Lords Proprietors 
of Carolina for after his return to Germany he published, in 
1706, a glowing account of their province in which he pointed 
out its advantages as a home for his countrymen. His book 
aroused such general interest among the Protestants of Ger- 
many that by 1709 it had reached its fourth edition. Stimu- 


lated by Kockerthal 's publication, and secretly encouraged by 
the British government, the Palatines and other German 
Protestants in large numbers abandoned their native land to 
seekmew homes in England, or beyond the Atlantic. Follow- 
ing the passage of the naturalization act in 1709, more than 
10,000 of them landed in England. They came in such great 
numbers that the facilities provided for taking care of them 
proved utterly inadequate. Several months passed before 
plans could be perfected for their ultimate disposition. Nu- 
merous schemes, embracing settlements in England, Ireland, 
the Canary Islands, and America, were suggested, but of 
them all, colonization in America seemed the most feasible. 

A favorable opportunity for transporting a colony of the 
Palatines to America was offered by the presence in London 
of Franz Ludwig Michel and Christopher de Graffenried, rep- 
resentatives of a Swiss syndicate of Bern which had been or- 
ganized to plant a Swiss colony in America. De Graffenried, 
who was the scion of a noble German family of Bern, had ex- 
cellent connections in England through whom he succeeded in 
interesting English capitalists in his scheme. Even the queen 
agreed to contribute £4,000 to his enterprise in consideration 
of his taking 100 families of Palatines to America. In what 
part of America should he plant his colony? During one of 
his sojourns in England some years earlier, De Graffenried 'a 
interest in America had been aroused by the Duke of Albe- 
marle, one of the Proprietors of Carolina, who had discoursed 
to him on "the beauty, goodness, and riches of English Amer- 
ica," and now that he was about to seek "a more considerable 
fortune in those far-off countries," his thoughts naturally 
turned to the province in which the duke had been especially 
interested. He was confirmed in this determination by in- 
formation received from John Lawson, surveyor-general of 
Carolina, who was then in London supervising the publica- 
tion of his "New Voyage to Carolina." The Lords Propri- 
etors themselves had shown an interest in the Palatines as 
possible colonists, even proposing to settle all of them be- 
tween fifteen and forty-five years of age in their province if 
the queen would defray the expenses of their transportation ; 
and they now offered De Graffenried "very favorable condi- 
tions and privileges.' 1 De Graffenried, accordingly, deter- 
mined upon Carolina and purchased in that province 17,500 
acres of land to be located south of the Neuse River. 

In making his preparations, De Graffenried acted prompt- 
ly and prudently. From the thousands of Palatines, eager 
for the enterprise, he chose only "young people, healthy and 


laborious and of all kinds of avocations and handicrafts, ' ' in 
number about 650. Tools, equipment, and ships were all se- 
lected with great care. The colony was placed under the 
direction of "three persons, notables from Carolina, who 
happened then to be in London and who had lived already 
several years in Carolina." They were John Lawson, the 
surveyor-general, Christopher Gale, the receiver-general, and 
another colonial official. Twelve assistants, "both sensible and 
able," were appointed from among the colonists themselves. 
In all his plans and preparations, De Graffenried had the ad- 
vice and approval of a royal commission which passed on his 
contracts, inspected his transports, and were supposed in 
other ways to look after the interests of the Palatines. When 
all was ready, the colonists went aboard their ships at Graves- 
end and after suitable religious ceremonies weighed anchor 
for the New World, leaving De Graffenried in England to 
await the arrival of his colony from Bern. 

The Palatines sailed in January, 1710. Misfortune dogged 
their tracks. The royal commissioners, to whom their inter- 
ests had been entrusted, had shamefully neglected their duty. 
The transports were badly overcrowded. The food supply 
was inadequate in quantity and in quality. The cost of trans- 
portation had been reduced to the lowest possible amount and 
the ship's captain paid in advance for each passenger; the 
death of a passenger, therefore, meant a financial gain to the 
ship-owners. Even nature seemed to conspire against the wel- 
fare of the Palatines. A few days out of port, they were 
overtaken by a storm which threatened them with destruction. 
Contrary winds tossed them about on the Atlantic for thir- 
teen weeks. Crowded into poorly ventilated quarters, reduced 
to a salt diet to which they were not accustomed, attacked 
and plundered by a French man-of-war, the wretched Pala- 
tines suffered many of the horrors of the middle-passage. 
Throughout their long voyage, disease was their constant 
companion and death a daily visitor. More than half of them 
perished at sea and many others succumbed after landing. 
Thus, as De Graffenried says, "that colony was shattered be- 
fore it had settled." 

Sailing up the James River, the survivors of the colony 
landed in Virginia, where they were well received, and re- 
mained there long enough to recover somewhat from the ef- 
fects of their voyage. Then, under the guidance of John 
Lawson, they set out overland for Carolina. Lawson who 
had been entrusted with the task of locating the settlement 
chose a point on the tongue of land between the Neuse and 


Trent rivers, near the site of the present city of New Bern. 
No preparations had been made to receive the Palatines. 
They found themselves in a wilderness, during the hot and 
unhealthy season, without shelter and with an inadequate sup- 
ply of food. The experiences of their first summer in Amer- 
ica were paralleled only by those of their voyage across the 
Atlantic. Reduced to the direst poverty, they were com- 
pelled, "to sell all their clothes and movables to the neigh- 
boring inhabitants in order to sustain their life." When De 
Graffenried arrived in September, he found them in a 
wretched condition, "sickness, want and desperation having 
reached their very climax." 

De Graffenried sailed in June with a colony of 100 Swit- 
zers, and after "a happy voyage," landed in Virginia on 
September 10th. Bad news from his Palatines was awaiting 
him and he pushed on to their relief with as little delay as 
possible. His hopes, however, of obtaining speedy succour 
for them were doomed to disappointment. He had expected 
help from the colonial authorities, in accordance with a prom- 
ise which the Lords Proprietors had given him, but he found 
political conditions in North Carolina in such a turmoil that 
nothing could be obtained from that source. Provisions were 
scarce in North Carolina and flour that he had ordered from 
Pennsylvania and Virginia was slow in coming. Consequently, 
not only was he unable to relieve the distress of his Palatines ; 
he could not even provide for the needs of his Switzers, who, 
like the Palatines, were soon "obliged to sell their clothes and 
implements in order to get the necessary victuals from the 
neighboring inhabitants and keep themselves from starva- 
tion." Finally, after a period of intense anxiety and suffer- 
ing, grain, pork, salt, butter, and vegetables were secured in 
sufficient quantities for the immediate needs of the colony. 

In the meantime De Graffenried had taken steps to bring 
some order out of the chaos which he had found upon his 
arrival. He had the land surveyed and the colonists settled 
on their several tracts. Encouraged by his presence they 
went to work with a will, cleared the forests, built cabins, 
erected water-mills for grinding grain, and laid out a town. 
This town was placed on the point of land between the Neuse 
and the Trent. It was laid off in the form of a cross with 
one arm extending from river to river and the other from 
the extremity of the point back indefinitely. De Graffenried 
planned to erect a church at each of the four corners. Above 
the town, he threw across the peninsular a line of fortifica- 
tions as a protection against the Indians. In honor of his na- 

Vol. 1—6 


live citv, De Graffenried named the town New Bern. Pros- 
pects for the future of New Bern seemed so favorable that 
people in Pennsylvania and Virginia invested in lots there. 
Indeed, such was the improvement in the situation that De 
Graffenried boasted that his colonists "within eighteen 
months [had] managed to build homes and make themselves 
so comfortable, that they made more progress in that length 
of time than the English inhabitants in several years." 
"There was," he adds, "a fine appearance of a happy state 
of things," when suddenly, without warning, the colony was 
overwhelmed by the greatest of all its misfortunes. In Sep- 
tember, 1711, the most disastrous Indian war in the history 
of North Carolina broke out and raged with intermittent vio- 
lence for two years. The losses and suffering fell heaviest 
upon the settlers along the Neuse. Their cattle were killed 
or driven off, their crops destroyed, their homes burned ; many 
of the settlers themselves fell victims to the merciless cruelty 
of the savages. The rest were reduced to such desperation 
and despair that they determined to abandon the settlement, 
and De Graffenried went to Virginia to arrange for their re- 
moval to a new location on the Potomac. His negotiations 
failed and the scheme came to naught. De Graffenried him- 
self, broken in fortune and in spirit, now abandoned his ef- 
forts and returned to Europe. The Palatines never recov- 
ered from the losses they had sustained and soon ceased to 
exist as a distinct German settlement. Scattered throughout 
the southeastern section of North Carolina, they were ulti- 
mately absorbed in the English population ; even their names 
lost their German forms to conform to the English spelling. 

By 1710, settlements extended from the Virginia line on 
the north to the Neuse River on the south, and up and down 
the Roanoke, the Pamlico, and the Neuse for twenty and thirty 
miles inland. The French and Germans were not the only 
ones who came, for many Virginians were abandoning the 
older colonv for the new, and not a few adventurers were find- 
■ ing their way hither directly from the mother country. For 
the most part, the Virginians and the English did not follow 
the French and Germans to the outskirts of the settlements, 
but entered lands in Albemarle which was rapidly filling up 
with a sturdy people. While it is impossible to estimate the 
population of the colony accurately, there is ample evidence 
of its steady growth. In 1694, for instance, the total number 
of tithables in the colony as reported to the General Court 
was 787, which meant a population of about 3,500; eight years 
later the tithables of Chowan precinct alone were 283, i. e., a 


total population of about 1,400 ; and in 1708 the population of 
Pasquotank was more than 1,300. In 1690, the vanguard of 
the French colony had just entered the unbroken wilderness 
along the Pamlico ; in 1704, the settlement on the Pamlico had 
grown so populous that it contained 200 children who had 
never received the rite of baptism. Further evidence is found 
in the complaints of the Virginia authorities that North Caro- 
lina was draining the Old Dominion of her population. The 
president of the Virginia Council wrote in 1708, that "many 
of our poorer sort of Inhabitants daily remove into our neigh- 
boring Colonies, especially to North Carolina which is the 
reason the number of our Inhabitants doth not increase pro- 
portionally to what might be expected"; and the Virginia 
Council explaining this situation said: "the chief cause of 
this Removal is want of Land to plant and cultivate 
this has occasioned many families of old Inhabitants whose 
former plantations are worn out as well as great number of 
young people & servants just free to seek for settlements in 
the province of North Carolina where Land is to be had on 
much easier terms than here, & not a few have obtained grants 
from that Government of the very same [amount of] land 
which they would have taken up from this, if liberty had been 
given for it." 


The reign of peace and progress which North Carolina 
enjoyed under Ludwell and Archdale, and their deputies, was 
of short duration. Henderson Walker, whose administration 
came to a close in 1703, bequeathed to his successors an issue 
that for several years divided the people into contending fac- 
tions, stirred up bitter strife and rebellion, and indirectly 
brought upon the colony the worst disaster in its history. This 
issue was the question of an Established Church. 

From the creation of their proprietary in 1663, the Lords 
Proprietors had offered liberal terms, as liberality in religious 
matters was construed in those days, to all Protestants who 
should settle in Carolina. In their proposals of August, 1663, 
to prospective settlers at Cape Fear, they promised "in as 
ample manner as the undertakers shall desire, freedom and 
liberty of conscience in all religious or spiritual things, and 
to be kept inviolably with them, we having power in our char- 
ter so to do." A few weeks later, in a letter to Sir William 
Berkeley, they explained that their reason for authorizing 
him to appoint two governors in Albemarle was that ''some 
persons that are for liberty of conscience may desire a gov- 
ernor of their own proposing." Moreover, both in the Con- 
cessions of 1665 and in the Fundamental Constitutions they 
provided toleration for all forms of Christian worship in or- 
der "that civil peace may be obtained amidst diversity of 
opinion. ' ' 

On the other hand, neither the Lords Proprietors nor the 
settlers understood these promises to be inconsistent with the 
setting up of an establishment in the colony. Both of the 
charters of the Lords Proprietors assumed that the Church 
of England would be the Established Church in Carolina ; and 
in all their plans the Lords Proprietors proceeded upon this 
assumption. In the Concessions of 1665, in their instructions 
to their governors, and in the Fundamental Constitutions, 
their intentions to establish the Church are repeatedly set 



forth. The Fundamental Constitutions provide that it should 
be the duty of "parliament to take care for the building of 
churches and the public maintenance of divines, to be em- 
ployed in the exercise of religion according to the Church of 
England; which being the only true and orthodox, and the 
national religion of all the king's dominions, is so also of 
Carolina, and therefore it alone shall be allowed to receive 
public maintenance by grant of parliament. ' ' 

The Lords Proprietors, therefore, were quite as much 
committed to the policy of an establishment as they were to 
that of religious toleration; but as they had allowed nearly 
two score years to pass without attempting to carry it into 
effect, the colonists generally had come to think of it as a 
dead letter. The attempt, therefore, after so many years of 
neglect to set up an establishment according to these provi- 
sions aroused a bitter and determined opposition from all 
classes of Dissenters. The increase of the Dissenters, espe- 
cially of Quakers, in numbers and influence, is the most im- 
portant fact in the early religious development of the colony. 
This growth was so great as to lead the early North Carolina 
historians into the error of believing that the colony was set- 
tled by religious refugees. As a rule the earliest settlers of 
North Carolina had been reared within the pale of the Church 
of England, and had the Church followed them into their new 
home they would doubtless have remained loyal to her; but 
forty years passed before a minister of the Established Church 
found his way into the Carolina wilderness, and in the mean- 
time the field had been occupied and zealously cultivated by 

The first voice of a Christian preacher heard in North Car- 
olina was the voice of the Quaker, William Edmundson, who 
came hither in 1672, a worthy bearer of the Christian faith 
to a new land. In himself he personified the Christian vir- 
tues of simplicity, piety, zeal, and charity. Undaunted by the 
difficulties, discomforts, and dangers of his undertaking, he 
courageously plunged into the Carolina wilderness to carry 
his message to the scattered pioneers whom the Church had 
forgotten, and by his earnestness and eloquence won many 
of them to his cause. Soon after entering the province he 
arrived at the house of Henry Phillips who, with his wife 
"had been convinced of the truth in New England, and came 
here to live; and not having seen a Friend for seven years 
before, they wept for joy to see us." Phillips hastily sum- 
moned the neighboring planters to a meeting. Because their 
manners were crude and they violated the proprieties by 


smoking their pipes during the meeting, Edmundson at first 
thought they had "little or no religion"; but the readiness 
with which they "received the testimony" and confessed their 
faith soon undeceived him. Among the converts at this meet- 
ing were a prominent justice of the peace, Francis Toms, and 
his wife, both of whom "received the truth with gladness." 
At their urgent request, Edmundson held another meeting at 
their plantation where they had "a blessed time for several 
were tendered with a sense of the power of God, received the 
truth, and abode in it." 

The work so successfully begun by Edmundson was taken 
up by others. In the winter of 1672, George Fox himself, the 
founder of the Society of Friends, visited the colony where 
he received an hospitable welcome not only from the Friends 
but also from the governor and other officials. Passing 
through Chowan, Pasquotank, and Perquimans precincts, he 
held several "precious" meetings and made many converts. 
Then, as he recorded in his journal, ''having visited the 
north part of Carolina and made a little entrance for the truth 
among the people there, we began to return again towards 
Virginia, having several meetings on our way, wherein we 
had good service for the Lord, the people being generally ten- 
der and open." Four years later Edmundson returned to 
Carolina following about the same route that he had taken 
in 1672. These four years had worked a great change in the 
colony. Whereas on his first visit, Edmundson had found only 
two Friends, Henry Phillips and his wife, he now found the 
Friends quite numerous and well established. "I had several 
precious meetings in that colony," he says, "and several 
turned to the Lord. People were tender and loving, and there 
was no room for the priests, for Friends were firmly settled, 
and I left things well amongst them." From time to time, 
during the next quarter of a century, other Quaker mission- 
aries came to Carolina, held "many comfortable meetings, ' ; 
made converts, and organized quarterly meetings. The Caro- 
lina Quakers also received accessions to their strength by 
immigration, especially from Pennsylvania, but the greatest 
impetus given to their cause was the appointment, in 1694, 
of John Arehdale, a convert of George Pox, as governor. Un- 
der Archdale the influence of the Quakers reached its climax. 
They not only had the governor, but also gained control of 
the courts, the Council, and the Assembly, for, as Doctor 
"Weeks says, "There was a material reward for being a Quak- 
er, and Churchmen and others who thus found it to their in- 


terest deserted their own creeds to enroll themselves among 
the Friends. ' ' 1 

Though the Quakers were the most influential religious 
body in the colony, there were other bodies of Dissenters who 
were not so well organized. Eev. John Blair, a missionary 
of the Church, writing in 1704, declared that according to re- 
ligious preferences, the people of the colony fell into four 
classes: (1) the Quakers, who "stand truly to one another in 
whatsoever may be to their interest"; (2) "a great many 
who have no religion, but would be Quakers if by that they 
were not obliged to lead a more, moral life than they are 
willing to comply to"; (3) a class "something like Presby- 
terians," whose leaders "preach and baptize through the 
country, without any manner of orders from any sect or pre- 
tended Church"; and (4) Churchmen, "who are really zeal- 
ous for the interest of the Church, [but] are the fewest in 
number." Under the leadership of the Quakers, who, says 
Blair, "are the most powerful enemies to Church govern- 
ment," the first three classes had united "in one common 
cause to prevent any thing that will be chargeable to them, 
as they allege the Church government will be, if once estab- 
lished by law," and against this combination the Church party 
had been unable to make any headway. 

For this situation the Church had only herself to blame. 
The elaborate organization provided for in the Fundamental 
Constitutions existed in theory only; no parishes had been 
laid off, no churches erected, no tithes levied, and no minister 
had been sent to the colony. Governor Walker wrote to the 
Bishop of London, within whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction all 
the American colonies lay, that for fifty years the colony had 
been "without priest or altar," adding: "George Fox, some 
years ago, came into these parts, and, by strange infatuations, 
did infuse the Quakers' principles into some small number 
of the people ; which did and hath continued to grow ever 
since very numerous, by reason of their yearly sending in 
men to encourage and exhort them to their wicked principles ; 
and there was none to dispute nor to oppose them in carrying 
on their pernicious principles for many years." At last, in 
1700, the Church in England, aroused to a show of interest in 
the welfare of her scattered flock in Carolina, sent out a cler- 
gyman, Rev. Daniel Brett, to that colony. This sudden in- 
terest, however, proved more disastrous than the long neglect 

1 The Religious Development in the Province of North Carolina, 
p. 33. (J. H. II. Studies, 10th Series, Nos. V-VI.) 


which had preceded it for Brett turned out to be "y e Monster 
of v e Aare." His conduct in North Carolina was so shameful 
that it wrung from Governor Walker, a zealous Churchman, 
a bitter cry of protest to the Bishop of London. "It hath 
been a great trouble and grief to us who have a great venera- 
tion for the Church," he wrote, "that the first minister who 
was sent to us should prove so ill as to give the Dissenters 
so much occasion to charge us with him. ' ' 

The Church party needed a leader who could unite and 
organize its scattered forces. This leader was found in Gov- 
ernor Walker who, upon assuming his duties as governor in 
1699, resolved to devote his best energies to the task of se- 
curing the necessary legislation for the support of an estab- 
lishment. Success crowned his efforts in 1701 when the 
Church party, under his leadership, by "a great deal of care 
and management," secured control of the Assembly which 
passed the first vestry act in the history of the colony. This 
act provided for the organization of vestries, the laying off 
of parishes, the erection of churches, the maintenance of a 
clergy, and the levy and collection of a poll tax for these pur- 
poses. Elated at their success, the Churchmen of the prov- 
ince began at once to carry the act into execution, and within 
the next two years erected three churches. The first parish 
organized in the colony was the Chowan Parish, afterwards 
known as St. Paul's. Its vestry met for organization Decem- 
ber 15, 1701, and has had a continuous existence since that 
date. "It is not only the oldest organized religious body in 
the State," observes Bishop Cheshire, "it is the oldest cor- 
poration of any kind in North Carolina." 2 The activity of 
the Churchmen aroused a determined opposition. Those who 
opposed an establishment on principle allied themselves with 
those who merely objected to the new taxes to overthrow the 
Church party and repeal the obnoxious act. "We have an 
Assembly to sit the 3d November next, ' ' wrote Walker to the 
Bishop of London, in October, 1703, "and there is above one 
half of the burgesses that are chosen that are Quakers, and 
have declared their designs of making void the act for estab- 
lishing the Church.' 1 In this, however, they were anticipated 
by the Lords Proprietors themselves who returned the act 
with their disapproval because of the inadequacy of the sup- 
port provided for clergymen. 

The ground on which the Lords Proprietors based their 

2 "How Our Church Came to North Carolina" in The Spirit of 
Missions, Vol. LXXXI 1 1, No. 5, p. 350. 










veto indicated that the struggle had just begun and both 
parties prepared themselves for it. Two new influences entered 
the contest in the Church party's favor. One was a new gov- 
ernor, the other the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts. Lord John Granville, palatine and zealous 
Churchman, about this time determined on a more vigorous 
policy with regard to the Church in Carolina and issued posi- 
tive instructions to the governor-general, Sir Nathaniel John- 
son, to secure whatever legislation was necessary. Sir Na- 
thaniel undertook to direct personally the fight in South Caro- 
lina, while in the summer of 1703 he superseded Walker as 
deputy-governor of North Carolina with Col. Robert Daniel 
of South Carolina. It was an unfortunate change. While 
Walker was a zealous Churchman, he was also a patriotic citi- 
zen and was greatly concerned for the welfare of the province ; 
and although lie had earnestly favored the act of 1701, he 
had done so in such a way as to arouse as little friction and 
strife as possible; compared with what was to follow he had 
given to the colony, as the inscription on his tombstone justly 
claims, "that tranquillity which it is to be wished it may never 
want." Daniel was also a zealous Churchman, but his zeal 
ran into bigotry, and he was ruthless and unscrupulous 
in his methods. Coincident with his appointment, the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, recently 
organized in England, sent its first missionary, Rev. John 
Blair, to North Carolina. The two events were part of the 
same scheme for pushing the Establishment. Blair reached 
North Carolina in January, 1704, and although he remained 
here only a few months his presence was not without in- 
fluence on the situation. It helped to bring out clearly the 
views of every public man in the colony and to array him on 
one side or the other; it solidified the Dissenters and their 
sympathizers and united and encouraged the Churchmen for 
the struggle which all knew was at hand. 

Daniel had been instructed to secure the establishment of 
the Church in North Carolina, and Blair had come to the col- 
ony expecting to find those instructions already enacted into 
law. But in the Assembly of November, 1703, the first to meet 
after Daniel's arrival, the Quakers as we have seen were in 
the majority, and in the March Assembly, 1704, which Blair 
expected "would propose a settlement of my [his] main- 
tenance," they still were "the greatest number" and unani- 
mously resolved "to prevent any such law passing." The 
only hope of the Church party, therefore, was to find some 
means of purging the General Assembly of its Quaker mem- 


bers; but this seemed so improbable that Blair gave up in 
despair and withdrew from his mission. Governor Daniel, 
however, was determined and fertile in resources; and he 
soon found a weapon suitable for his purpose. This weapon 
was the act of Parliament of 1702, which settled the oath of 
allegiance to Queen Anne who had recently come to the throne. 
It was nothing more than the usual oath which any good 
Protestant could take, but as the Quakers would take no oath, 
their scruples had always been respected in North Carolina. 
In the new oath, which did not reach North Carolina until 
the summer of 1704, Daniel saw the weapon he was looking 
for and resolved to require all officials to take it before enter- 
ing upon their offices. The Quakers, as he anticipated, de- 
clined, and the governor accordingly refused to permit them 
to take their seats in the courts, the Council, and the Assem- 
bly. The expulsion of the Quakers left the Church party in 
control of the government, and by a majority of "one or 
two votes" that party put through the Assembly a second 
vestry act. To make assurance doubly sure, by preventing 
the return of the Quakers to power, the same Assembly pro- 
vided an oath of office, without making any exception for 
Quakers, which all officials and members of the Assembly 
must take in the future. But the Quakers were not helpless. 
The other Dissenters rallied to their support; and it seems 
certain that some influential Churchmen, either because they 
were opposed to an establishment,- or because they resented 
Daniel's highhanded methods, also came to their assistance. 
Complaints against Daniel were sent to Sir Nathaniel John- 
son, accompanied by a petition for his removal ; and Sir Na- 
thaniel, who was involved in a bitter fight over the same ques- 
tion in South Carolina, thought it wise to comply with the 
North Carolina petition. He removed Daniel and sent Thomas 
Cary to succeed him. 

Cary had long been prominent in the affairs of South Car- 
olina. Although he had been implicated in a rebellion in that 
province, this offense was more than counter-balanced in the 
eyes of Governor Johnson by the fact that he was one of the 
governor's bondsmen. Restless, ambitious, without settled 
political principles, he knew no rule of action in politics ex- 
cept to support the party which could best advance his own 
fortunes. Since Cary's chief had so promptly removed Daniel 
upon complaint of the Quakers, members of that party at 
once jumped to the conclusion that Cary would espouse their 
cause, and they accepted his appointment as a signal for a 
renewal of their political activities. Great was their wrath. 


therefore, when they found in him a more serious obstacle 
than Daniel himself had been. Coming into North Carolina 
with an eye to his own interests, Cary found the Church party 
strongly entrenched in power and promptly aligned himself 
with it. He not only repudiated the claims of the Quakers and 
dismissed them from office upon their refusal to take the oaths, 
but prevailed upon the Assembly to pass an act imposing a 
heavy fine upon any person who should presume to perform 
an official duty without taking the required oaths, or who 
should promote his own election to any office. Exasperated 
by this unexpected turn of affairs, the Quakers and their al- 
lies determined to carry their case directly to the Lords Pro- 
prietors, and in 1706 they sent John Porter to England to seek 
a redress of their grievances. 

Porter was successful in his mission. Through the influ- 
ence of John Archdale, he obtained from the Lords Propri- 
etors an order suspending the authority of Sir Nathaniel 
Johnson in North Carolina, removing Cary, naming five new 
deputies, and authorizing the Council to elect a president who 
should perform the duties of governor. Returning to North 
Carolina in October, 1707, armed with this order, Porter 
found Cary absent and William Glover temporarily adminis- 
tering the government. Since Glover's administration seemed 
to be giving satisfaction, Porter determined not to disturb it ; 
he, therefore, called together the newly appointed deputies 
and induced them to elect Glover president of the Council. 
Though the commission under which he acted required the 
presence of Cary and the former deputies to make this elec- 
tion legal, Porter concealed this fact from the deputies as 
well as from Glover; and later when he found that he could 
not dictate the latter 's policy, he pleaded the illegality of 
Glover's election to justify himself in forcing his removal 
from office. Porter's apologists have not been able to discern 
in his conduct anything more than a shrewd political move, 
but less partial critics will doubtless think, it deserving of a 
severer condemnation. 3 However reprehensible, measured by 
modern ideals, the policy of the Church party may have been, 
the actions of its leaders throughout these controversies had 
been open and above board: on the other hand concealment 
and dissimulation characterized Porter's conduct in this af- 
fair and it cannot be justified by any standard of political 
ethics that places the public welfare above a partisan tri- 

3 Weeks: The Religious Development in the Province of North 
Carolina, p. 56. 


umph. Not only did Porter induce the newly appointed depu- 
ties, by concealing from them their lack of legal power to act, 
to choose Glover as president, he himself later joined such of 
the former deputies as were retained by the new commission 
from the Lords Proprietors, including Thomas Cary, in an 
official proclamation calling upon the people to render to 
Glover that obedience which was due to him as governor of 
the province. 

Porter, however, soon discovered that he could not con- 
trol Glover. When the newly appointed Quaker deputies ap- 
peared to take their seats in the Council, dlover tendered 
them the prescribed oaths and upon their declining to take 
them, refused to admit them to their seats. The old quarrel 
flared up with renewed bitterness. Fuel was added to the 
flame by the recent arrival in the colony of two missionaries 
of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the pros- 
pect of a revival of the activities of the Church party in- 
creased the alarm of the Dissenters, who now felt justified in 
resorting to violent measures to protect their interests. Ac- 
cordingly Porter summoned both the old and the new depu- 
ties, informed them of the alleged defect in Glover's title to 
his office, and over the protest of Glover induced them to de- 
clare his election illegal and void. In the meantime the Quaker 
party had gained a new recruit. When Cary saw how the tide 
was running, he deserted the Church party and went over, 
bag and baggage, to its opponents. He and Porter struck a 
bargain as a result of which Cary was chosen president "by 
the votes of the very same Councillors who had before chosen 
Mr. Glover, and all this by virtue of that very same commis- 
sion which removed him [Cary] from the government." Glov- 
er refused to yield ; both sides took up arms ; blood was shed 
and the colony reduced to the verge of civil war. 

However, better counsels prevailed and the contending 
factions agreed to submit their claims to an Assembly. At 
once a new complication arose : by whose writ could an elec- 
tion be legally held? To answer this question was to decide 
the dispute; accordingly both Glover and Cary issued writs 
and the election was held amid bitter strife and tumult. When 
the Assembly met, October 11, 1708, both the Glover set of 
councillors and the Cary set appeared each claiming the right 
to be recognized as the upper house of the Assembly. An 
amusing side-light on this curious situation is found in the 
action of former Deputy-Governor Daniel. As a landgrave, 
one of the ranks of nobility under the Fundamental Constitu- 
tions, he was entitled to sit in the Council ; but unable to decide 


which was the true and lawful Council, an 1 fearful of making 
a mistake, he sat first with one group and then with the other, 
"and," as one historian facetiously remarks, "was equally 
uncomfortable with both." 4 Glover refused to recognize the 
newly appointed Quaker deputies because they declined to 
take the required oaths. But in the election of assemblymen, 
the Cary party had carried the colony, and they proceeded at 
once to organize the lower house regardless of Glover's pro- 

The Cary party organized the Assembly by the ejection of 
Edward Moseley as speaker. This election was the beginning 
of the most remarkable career in our colonial history. For 
forty years Moseley 's biography is practically the history of 
North Carolina, so varied were his activities and so deeply 
did he impress his personality on his times. His was that 
sort of character toward which men cannot be neutral. Those 
who did not hate him adored him. The explanation of this 
fact is found not merely in the forcefulness of his personality, 
but also in the contradictions of his life and career. An aris- 
tocrat by nature, he was a democrat by convictions and in 
practice. Often an official of the Lords Proprietors and later 
of the Crown, he firmly resisted all encroachments on the 
rights of the people. Possessed of vast estates, of many 
slaves, and of great wealth, he lived in great simplicity and 
was genuinely sympathetic with the poor and the unfortunate. 
A devoted Churchman, he steadfastly espoused the cause of the 
Dissenters in their fight against an establishment. His en- 
emies while condemning his character could not withhold their 
admiration of his abilities. The Virginia boundary-line com- 
missioners in 1710, who could find no terms too strong for 
denouncing his motives, at the same time could not refrain 
from testifying to "the subtlety [in debate] whereof he is 
Master"; and Governor Burrington, his uncompromising foe, 
while admitting that Moseley was "a person of sufficient 
ability" to be public treasurer, wished that his "integrity 
was equal to his ability." The denunciations of his enemies 
no less than the eulogies of his friends reveal the dynamics 
inherent in the man. He had, as has been well said, the bold- 
ness of thought and of action that people admire in their 
leaders ; the common sense and self-poise on which people 
rely in troublous times; and the honesty of purpose which, 
regardless of his own interests, made it impossible for him 
to wink at the usurpations of authority. An active man of 

4 Hill, D. IT. : Young People's History of North Carolina, p. 75. 


affairs, lie was also a student and a lover of learning; his pri- 
vate library, which late in life he gave to the town of Eden- 
ton as a foundation for a public library, contained a large 
collection of books on law, theology, history, and general lit- 
erature. Looking beneath the surface of the tumult and strife 
in which his life was largely passed; putting to the acid test 
of impartial history the hasty and prejudiced judgment of 
his contemporaries ; studying his career in the light of subse- 
quent developments, one is prepared to accept the verdict of 
the careful historian who says of Edward Moseley: "it was 
not necessary for him 'to usurp a patriot's all-atoning name,' 
for he seems to have sincerely loved his adopted colony, and 
to have served it with the steadfast purpose of making it a 
home fit for free men. ' ' 5 

Such was the man whom the Cary party in the first flush 
of their triumph elevated to the leadership of the General 
Assembly. The victors were not disposed to show the van- 
quished much consideration. They brushed aside the claims 
of the contesting Glover delegations ; passed an act nullifying 
the test oaths; recognized the Gary councillors as the upper 
house; and declared Cary president of the Council and ex- 
officio governor. Against these actions Glover protested. He 
declared first, that members returned under Gary's writ could 
not constitute a lawful Assembly because Cary, not being 
president of the Council, had no authority to issue a writ; 
and, secondly, that even if legally elected they could not sit as 
assemblymen until they had taken the oaths required by law, 
which, of course, the Quaker members had not done. It was, 
he declared, "a betraying of the trust reposed in the Lords 
Proprietors by the Crown, to submit the determinations of 
the Government to any number of men howsoever chosen and 
delegated, though by the unanimous voice of the whole coun- 
trys Except such persons shall first acknowledge their al- 
legiance to the Queen, which both the Common Law and the 
Statute Law requires to be done by an oath : with which Law 
the Queen hath not, and the Lords Proprietors can not dis- 
pence." This protest was addressed "To the Gentlemen met 
and pretending themselves to be the House of Burgesses." 
Glover unquestionably had the better of the legal argument; 
but Cary had the votes and his Assembly returned Glover's 
protest to him with the curt statement "that they would not 
concern themselves in that matter." Glover, seeing that he 

5 Hill, D. H.: Edward Moselev : Character Sketch. (North Car- 
olina Booklet, Vol. V, No. 3. p. 205.) 



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had lost his fight, wisely abandoned the field and beat a stra- 
tegic retreat into Virginia, leaving Cary in possession of the 
government and the colony in confusion. 

This condition continued for nearly two years before the 
Lords Proprietors decided to interfere. Finally in 1710 they 
sent out Edward Hyde, a near kinsman of the queen, as 
deputy-governor. Hyde arrived in Virginia in August ex- 
pecting to receive there his commission from Edward Tynte 
of Charleston, who had succeeded Sir Nathaniel Johnson as 
governor of Carolina. But before Hyde's arrival Governor 
Tynte had died without having made out Hyde 's commission 
and although Hyde had in his possession private letters that 
confirmed his appointment, without a commission he could not 
legally take over the government. This technical defect in 
his title, the Gloverites, in their eagerness to dispossess Cary, 
were willing to overlook, while Cary and his immediate sup- 
porters, whatever may have been their personal sentiments, 
were over-awed by the evident desire of the people for the res- 
toration of peace and harmony and by the "awefull respect" 
felt for Hyde on account of his family connections. Accord- 
ingly all who could pretend to any right to a voice in the mat- 
ter, including Cary himself, joined in a petition to Hyde to 
assume the duties of president of the Council until his com- 
mission should arrive from the Lords Proprietors, and Hyde 
promptly complied with their request. In the meantime the 
Lords Proprietors had decided, December 7, 1710, to appoint 
a governor of North Carolina "independent of the Governour 
of South Carolina," and had nominated Hyde for that dig- 
nity; but as a recent act of Parliament required the assent of 
the Crown to appointments of governors of proprietary colo- 
nies, a full year passed before all the formalities were finally 
completed. Hyde's commission as the first governor of 
North Carolina, therefore, was not issued until January 24, 
1712 ; he opened it and qualified before the Council May 9th. 
Henceforth the governments of North Carolina and South 
Carolina were separate and distinct. 

In the meantime North Carolina had been passing through 
one of the stormiest episodes in its stormy career. Hyde's ad- 
ministration had failed to produce the good results so eagerly 
anticipated. He allowed himself to fall completely under the 
influence of the Glover faction, insisted that all office-holders 
must take the prescribed oaths, and in this way purged both 
the Council and the Assembly of their Quaker members. The 
other Dissenters, seeing the drift of events; deserted their 
Quaker colleagues and rode in on the rising tide. Of Hyde's 

Vol. 1—7 


first Assembly, which met in March, 1711, John Urmstone, a 
minister of the Established Church, wrote : "With much dif- 
ficulty we had the majority * The Assembly was 
made up of a strange mixture of men of various opinions and 
inclinations; a few Churchmen, many Presbyterians, Inde- 
pendents, but most anythingarians — some out of principle, 
others out of hopes of power and authority in the government 
to the end that they might lord it over their neighbors, all 
combined to act answerably to the desire of the president and 
Council." The party in control could not resist the oppor- 
tunity to punish its enemies. Even Governor Spotswood of 
Virginia, who detested a Quaker and sympathized with the 
principles of the Gloverites, declared that the latter forced 
through the Assembly legislation "wherein it must be con- 
fessed they showed more their resentment of their ill usage 
during Mr. Cary's usurpation (as they call it) than their 
prudence to reconcile the distractions of the country." Their 
legislation embraced a sedition law for the punishment of 
"seditious words or speeches" or "scurrilous libels" against 
the existing government ; fixed a fine of £100 upon all officials 
who refused to qualify "according to the strictness of the laws 
in Great Britain now in force"; provided that "all such laws 
made for the establishment of the Church" should be still in 
force ; and declared null and void all court proceedings during 
Cary's second administration. They also directed Cary to 
account to Hyde for all funds collected during his term of 
office; required Edward Moseley to give security for certain 
fees which he was accused of illegally collecting; and impeach- 
ing Cary and Porter of high crimes and misdemeanors, 
ordered them into the custody of the provost-marshal. 

Cary determined not to submit tamely to these drastic 
measures. Collecting his followers, he withdrew to his planta- 
tion on the Pamlico and fortifying his house "with great Guns 
and other warlike stores," bade defiance to Hyde. So strongly 
was he entrenched that "when the Government had taken a 
resolution to apprehend him they found it impracticable to 
attempt it." Emboldened by Hyde's irresolution, Cary took 
the offensive, and reinforced by "a Brigantine of six Guns, 
furnished him by a leading Quaker," and "some other vessels 
equipp'd in a warlike manner," he denounced Hyde for at- 
tempting to exercise executive authority without a com- 
mission, proclaimed himself president of the Council, and 
moved to attack Hyde and his Council. Governor Spotswood 
of Virginia offered to mediate between the warring factions. 
Hyde promptly accepted but Cary "obstinately rejected all 


offers of accommodation." On June 30, he assailed Hyde's 
forces which had been gathered at Thomas Pollock's planta- 
tion on the Chowan and was severely repulsed leaving his 
brigantine and her six guns in the hands of the enemy. Cary 
thereupon fled to the Pamlico where he reassembled his scat- 
tered followers and entrenched himself in the house of Captain 
Richard Roach, who, though an agent of one of the Lords 
Proprietors, had embraced Cary's cause. Hyde finding him- 
self too weak to attack applied for aid to Spotswood who 
promptly dispatched to him a company of royal marines. The 
sight of the queen's uniform so "frighted the Rebellious 
party" that they threw down their arms and dispersed. Cary 
and several of his followers fled to Virginia where at Hyde's 
request they were apprehended and sent to England for trial 
on charges of sedition and rebellion. No evidence, however, 
was forwarded to sustain the charges and the prisoners were 
soon discharged from custody. 



INDIAN WARS OF 1711-1715 

With the flight of its leader, the Cary Rebellion collapsed, 
but the fires of factionalism still smoldered and it took a catas- 
trophe of appalling magnitude to quench them. This was the 
great Indian war that raged in North Carolina from 1711 to 
1713. Cary's enemies charged his adherents with inciting the 
Indians to hostilities, and although the charge rests on too un- 
certain a basis to be readily credited, yet it cannot be denied 
that the dissensions among the whites, for which Cary was 
largely responsible, gave the Indians the opportunity for 
which they had long been waiting. The causes of the war were 
not different from the causes of most other Indian wars waged 
since the white man and the red man first came in contact with 
each other. The whites, recognizing no right of the Indian to 
the soil, appropriated it to their own use without scruple, and 
as they pushed their way to the southward from Albemarle 
they necessarily drove the Indians before them and seized 
their hunting grounds. To this injustice they added the greater 
wrong of kidnapping Indian men, women and children to be 
sold into slavery. So extensive had this infamous practice 
become that Pennsylvania in 1705 forbade the further ' ' impor- 
tation of Indian slaves from Carolina" because it had "been 
observed to give the Indians of this province some umbrage 
for suspicion and dissatisfaction. ' ' The Meherrins, the Notto- 
way s, the Chowanocs, and other similar tribes, powerless to 
stay the march of the white man, submitted in sullen anger, 
but were ever on the watch for a favorable opportunity to 
strike a blow at their advancing foe. By the opening of the 
eighteenth century, the power of the Indians had gradually 
declined until but one tribe remained strong enough to contest 
the hold of the white man upon the country. The Tuscarora 
were a warlike nation of northern origin who were near kins- 
men of the famous Iroquois of the Long House in Western 
New York. They possessed towns on the Roanoke and the 
Pamlico, but their chief towns were on the Neuse and its trib- 



utaries, and their hunting-grounds extended as far southward 
as the Cape Fear. They could muster more than 1,200 war- 

The immediate cause of the war which the Tuscarora began 
in 1711, was the recent settlement of the Palatines on the 
Neuse in 1710 ; the occasion was Cary 's Rebellion which seemed 
to one watchful chief, whom the whites called Hancock, to offer 
the very opportunity for attack for which he had been so long 
waiting. Accordingly during the summer of 1711 he carefully 
organized a coalition between his own tribe and the Coree, the 
Pamlico, the Mattamuskeet, and several other smaller tribes. 
Early in September, under his shrewd leadership, 500 warri- 
ors assembled at Cotechney, his principal town on Contentnea 
Creek, near the present village of Snow Hill, and determined 
upon September 22d as the date for the attack. So carefully 
kept was their secret that but a few days before the blow was 
to fall, Christopher de Graffenreid and John Lawson unwit- 
tingly ventured into the very heart of the Tuscarora pos- 
sessions on an exploring expedition. They were captured 
and condemned to execution. De Graffenreid, however, by a 
clever stratagem, saved himself, but Lawson, who. in his "His- 
tory of Carolina" had eulogized the amiable qualities of 
these very Indians, was put to a horrible death. No hint of 
their impending fate was permitted to reach the settlers who 
continued to receive the Indians into their cabins without 
suspicion up« to the very morning of the attack, and slept 
peaceably through the preceding night. The war-whoops of 
the savages, arousing them from sleep at daybreak, were 
their first intimation of danger. Painted warriors poured 
out of the woods on all sides and began their horrid work. 
Within two hours after sunrise, they had butchered 130 set- 
tlers on the Pamlico and eighty on the Neuse. Men, women, 
and children fell indiscriminately beneath their bloody toma- 
hawks, and the dead lay unburied in the hot September sun, 
food for wolves and vultures. For three days the awful 
carnage continued with every circumstance of cruelty and 
horror. Those who were fortunate enough to escape, fled to 
Bath and other places of refuge leaving the entire region be- 
tween the Pamlico and the Neuse a scene of ashes, blood, and 

Fortunately, Tom Blunt, chief of the Tuscarora tribe on 
the Roanoke, had refused to join in the conspiracy against 
the whites and thus the Albemarle region escaped. Neverthe- 
less the situation in the province was critical in the extreme. 
The recent dissensions among the people, the refusal of the 


Quakers to bear arms, the fears of attack on the western 
frontier of Albemarle, the wide-spread destruction of prop- 
erty and the loss of life, and above all the shaken morale of 
the people made Governor Hyde's task an extremely difficult 
one. He acted with vigor and ability. Calling the General 
Assembly in session, he induced it to vote a war credit of 
£4,000 and to pass an act drafting for military service the 
entire man-power of the colony between sixteen and sixty 
years of age. He organized as effectively as possible the 
armed forces of the colony ; erected forts at strategic points ; 
and called on Virginia and South Carolina for aid. Governor 
Spotswood promptly ordered a force of Virginia militia to 
the border near the Tuscarora towns thus assuring their neu- 
trality ; but the Virginia government declined to permit troops 
to be sent to the aid of North Carolina unless the North 
Carolina Assembly would agree to withdraw its claims to 
the region in dispute between the two colonies. South Caro- 
lina on the other hand, responding promptly and generously, 
dispatched to North Carolina a strong force of whites and 
Indians under the command of Col. John Barnwell. 

Barnwell acted with dispatch and skill. Marching through 
300 miles of wilderness, he struck the enemy in two hard- 
fought battles near New Bern and forced them to sue for 
peace. His first attack resulted in the reduction of Fort Nar- 
hantes, about thirty miles from New Bern, January 12, 1712. 
Barnwell writes that after his forces had gained an entrance 
into the fort, while his white troops were putting the men to 
the sword, his Indians got all the slaves and the plunder, add- 
ing regretfully "only one girl we gott. " Immediately after 
this success, he advanced on Cotechney, in which Han- 
cock had gathered a powerful force of Tuscarora and 
their allies. Though reinforced by 250 North Carolinians, 
Barnwell was less successful here than he had been at 
Narhantes. Failing to take the place by storm, he brought 
up some cannon which so terrified the Indians that they pro- 
posed a truce. To this Barnwell agreed in order to save from 
massacre some white women and children whom Hancock 
held as prisoners within the fort. A treaty was signed call- 
ing for a cessation of hostilities and the delivery of the pris- 
oners in possession of the Indians. The Tuscarora likewise 
agreed in the future "to plant only on Neuse River, the creek 
the fort is on, quitting all claims to other lands. * * To 

quit all pretensions to planting, fishing, hunting or ranging to 
all lands lying between Neuse River and Cape Feare, that en- 
tirely to be left to the So. Carolina Indians, and to be treated 


as enemies if found in those ranges without breach of peace. ' : 
Barnwell naturally expected that his services to North 
Carolina would be rewarded with great honors and gifts. In- 
stead of these rewards, he found himself subjected to very 
severe criticism for his failure to press the enemy to a de- 
cisive defeat, and disgusted at the ingratitude of the prov- 
ince, and unwilling for his men to return home without some 
profit, he determined to seek his reward from another source. 
Under pretence of peace, he lured a large number of Indians 
to the vicinity of the Coree village near New Bern, permitted 
his own men to fall upon them unaware, capture many of them 
and hasten away to South Carolina to sell their victims into 
slavery. This breacli of faith justly incensed the Tuscarora 
and. their allies and destroyed what little confidence they had 
in the plighted faith of the white men ; and before the summer 
of 1712 was gone they were again on the warpath. 

During the summer, yellow fever added its horrors to 
those of war, and claimed perhaps as many victims. Among 
them was Governor Hyde. Hyde was succeeded in the ad- 
ministration by Thomas Pollock, president of the Council. 
Pollock was the rival and antithesis of Moseley. He had come 
to North Carolina from Scotland in 1683 as the deputy of a 
Lord Proprietor and throughout his subsequent career was 
warmly attached to the proprietary interests. Of good Scotch 
stock, well educated, owner of vast estates and master of a 
hundred slaves, he was in full sympathy with the ideals and 
aspirations of the privileged classes. As a devout Churchman, 
loyal to the interests of the Church, he disliked Dissenters of 
whatever profession and was particularly hostile to the 
Quakers whose theology he detested and whose politics he dis- 
trusted. In the Glover-Cary contest, therefore, he adhered to 
Glover whom he accompanied, upon Cary's triumph, into exile 
in Virginia; later, during the Cary Rebellion, he was Hyde's 
chief lieutenant. With him the enforcement of laws and the 
preservation of order were cardinal political principles, and 
he showed the sincerity of his devotion to them when he suf- 
fered imprisonment for resisting Seth Sothel's violations of 
the law and when he chose exile rather than submit to what 
he regarded as the perversion of orderly government by 
Cary's illegal usurpation. To him the call of duty was a com- 
mand. Upon assuming the duties of governor after Hyde's 
death, he wrote to the Lords Proprietors: "The real desire 
to serve his Majesty, your Lordships, and the poor people 
here, with the impertunity of the council here, have forced me 
to accept of the administration at this time when the country 


seemed to labor under insuperable difficulties when in more 
peaceable times I have refused it." 

Such was the man who had been called to the helm in the 
darkest hour in the history of North Carolina. The difficul- 
ties, as he said, might well have seemed "insuperable." Large 
sections of the country had been desolated. Along the Neuse, 
the Trent and the Pamlico, the plantations had been stripped 
of horses, cattle, and hogs, the crops destroyed, and the cabins 
reduced to heaps of ashes. The people had no means of re- 
couping their losses as the war had completely wiped out 
their trade with the outside world "there being no grain nor 
little, or no pork this two or three years to send out, so 
that what few vessels come in can have little or nothing * 
* * so that many have not wherewith to pay their debts, 
and but few can supply themselves with clothing necessary 
for their families." To their other burdens, they had been 
conrpelled to add an enormous war debt. Constantly threat- 
ened by their alert and resourceful enemy the settlers in the 
stricken region had been compelled to pass the winter and 
summer huddled together in small forts and stockades thus 
adding a further drain upon the meager food supply of the 
Albemarle section. When to all this we add the "dissention 
and disobedience as much as ever amongst the people," we 
complete the harrowing picture of the ruin and despair to 
which the colony had been reduced. Pollock summed up the 
situation in these words: "Our enemies strong, and numer- 
ous, well provided with armes and ammunition; our people 
poor, dispirited, undisciplined, timorous, divided, and gen- 
erally disobedient, and not only [in] a great want of armes 
and ammunition, but likewise the poor men who have been 
out in the service of the Country for want of their pay are 
in want of Clothing, so that they are not well able to hold 
out in the woods in the cold weather after the Indians." 

Colonel Pollock acted with courage and confidence. In 
an eloquent plea to the people of the colony he said: "Our 
all lies now at stake, our country, our wives, our children, our 
estates, and all that is dear to us. * * * Let us therefore 
bear with patience some hardships; let [us] strive against 
all difficulties. Let us lay aside all animosity, dif- 

ference, and dissentions amongst ourselves. Let us shun such, 
as we would shun the plague, that endeavour to raise muti- 
nies, or to sow seeds of dissention amongst us." To the re- 
gions stricken by Avar he dispatched food and clothing, arms 
and munitions, and sent reinforcements of troops. Finding 
that the northern tribe of Tuscarora were anxious to main- 


tain peace with the whites, he negotiated a treaty of neutral- 
ity with their chief, Tom Blunt, who agreed to make an effort 
to capture Hancock and induce him to make peace. Later a 
second treaty was made with Blunt in which he agreed to 
continue his neutrality as to the Tuscarora tribes but to make 
war with the whites on the Coree, the Pamlico, and other allies 
of Hancock. Having succeeded in a remarkable degree in 
uniting the strength of the whites and dividing that of the 
Indians, Pollock sought and obtained the aid of South Caro- 
lina in meeting the new crisis. 

That colony a second time came generously to the aid of 
the hard-pressed North Carolinians. A body of thirty-three 
white men and about 1,000 Indians was promptly raised, 
placed under the command of Col. James Moore, and ordered 
to North Carolina. Co-operating with a force of North Caro- 
linians raised by Pollock, Moore speedily drove the Tusca- 
rora and their allies to the cover of their forts, and on 
March 20, 1713, attacked Fort Nohoroco. After three days 
of fierce fighting, he reduced it, inflicting upon the enemy a 
loss of more than 900 men. Crushed by this blow, the severest 
ever experienced by the Indians of Eastern Carolina, the rem- 
nant of the defeated Tuscarora abandoned North Carolina 
migrating to New York, where, joining their powerful kins- 
men, the Iroquois of the Long House, they changed the cele- 
brated Five Nations into the Six Nations. Hancock's defeat 
practically closed the war as the only hostiles left to continue 
the struggle were small tribes which Moore's force quickly 
reduced. After the close of the war the neutral Tuscarora, 
with the remnant of the allied tribes remaining in North Caro- 
lina were by treaty between the Indians and the provincial 
government placed under the rule of Tom Blunt. k Subse- 
quently at various times small bands of the North Carolina 
Tuscarora abandoned North Carolina to join their brethren 
in New York, the last of them moving northward about the 
year 1802. 

Two years after the overthrow of the Tuscarora, North 
Carolina was able to pay in kind her debt of gratitude to South 
Carolina. The Yamassee Indians, who had accompanied Col- 
onel Moore on his expedition into North Carolina, having paid 
off some ancient scores against the Tuscarora in the war of 
1711-13, returned to their wigwams in South Carolina to con- 
sider their grievances against the English which, it must 
be confessed, were both numerous and well founded. In- 
stigated by the Spaniards of Florida, who agreed to 
supply them with arms and ammunition, they formed an 


ambitious plan to wipe out of existence the colony of 
South Carolina. For this purpose an alliance against the 
English was effected between all the tribes in the vast region 
from the Cape Fear to the Chattahoochee and beyond the Blue 
Ridge. Besides the Yamassee, it embraced the Catawbas, the 
Congaree, the Creeks, and the Cherokee, numbering in all more 
than 6,000 warriors. It was one of the most formidable Indian 
conspiracies in American history. The Yamassee opened the 
war with an assault along the southern frontier on Good Fri- 
day, 1715, in which they slew more than a hundred settlers, 
and threatened the existence of the colony. But the settlers, 
after recovering from their surprise, quickly rallied under the 
wise and energetic leadership of Governor Craven. Craven 
met a large force of Indians who were advancing upon Charles- 
ton, and routed them with great slaughter. This victory gave 
the colony a respite in which to prepare for hostilities. Ap- 
peals to Virginia and North Carolina brought prompt aid from 
both, from Virginia upon conditions so stringent that South 
Carolina was compelled to ask for their modification, from 
North Carolina upon no conditions at all. 

Promptly upon receiving intelligence of South Carolina's 
danger, Governor Eden recently appointed governor of North 
Carolina, called his Council together and upon its advice 
ordered the captains who were "command 1 * in the 
Hon ble ye Governo 1 " 9 own Regim* ' ' to call upon their companies 
for volunteers to go to the aid of South Carolina under the 
command of Colonel Theophilus Hastings; but "in Case of 
any Obstinancy and Reluctancy" on the part of the troops to 
volunteer, each captain was "to draw out Tenn able men from 
Each of y e Companyes provided that they are not those who 
have y e most numerous familyes and to see all well provided 
with amies and ammunition and to put them under y e said Co 11 
Hastings. ' : At the same time, orders were given for the rais- 
ing of another company consisting of fifty men who were to 
be sent to South Carolina under command of Colonel Maurice 
Moore. Colonel Moore w T as a native of South Carolina, but 
had accompanied his brother, Colonel James Moore, to North 
Carolina during the Tuscarora War, and had decided to cast 
in his fortunes with that colony. Hastings and Moore were 
both soon ready. The troops under Hastings, numbering 
eighty whites and sixty Indians, sailed in the man-of-war 
Sussex and arrived at Charleston about the middle of 
July; those under Moore marched overland by way of the 
Cape Fear. With this aid, and that received from Virginia, 
Governor Craven was able to administer a crushing defeat 


upon the enemy, whom he drove from the colony and forced to 
seek refuge among the Spaniards of Florida. Short work was 
then made of the smaller tribes along the coast, while those in 
the interior hastened to sue for peace. 

In this war, the English came for the first time in hostile 
contact with the Cherokee, and their first experience with those 
cunning, warlike mountaineers gave them some indication of 
the formidable enemies they were to find in them during the 
next hundred years. After the defeat of the Yamassee, the 
Lower Cherokee sent a number of their chiefs to Charleston to 
seek terms of peace. Governor Craven, with the view of im- 
pressing these remote tribes with a sense of the greatness and 
power of the English, determined to send an expedition into 
their own country to dictate peace in their very midst. This 
expedition, consisting of Moore's North Carolinians and a 
company of South Carolinians under Colonel George Chicken, 
he placed under command of Colonel Maurice Moore. Colonel 
Moore moved rapidly up the north bank of the Savannah River 
into the country of the Lower Cherokee, where he made his 
headquarters. These Indians, laying the blame for their trou- 
bles upon the traders, who "had been very abuseful of them 
of late," reaffirmed their desire for peace, but the Upper Cher- 
okee were still defiant, and Moore found it necessary to send 
a strong detachment against them. This detachment, under 
Colonel Chicken, penetrating into the heart of the Cherokee 
country, met their chiefs at Quoneashee, on the Hiwassee, near 
the present town of Murphy. These warriors w T ere eager for 
war with some neighboring tribes, with whom the whites w T ere 
trying to make peace, and demanded large supplies of guns 
and ammunition, saying that if they made peace, they would 
have no means of getting slaves with which to buy ammuni- 
tion. It was not until after " abundance of persuading" by 
the officers that they finally "told us they would trust us once 
again. " Peace was then made by the English agreeing to fur- 
nish the Cherokee with two hundred guns and a supply of am- 
munition, and to aid them in hostilities against the tribes with 
which the English themselves were still at war. Colonel Mooro 
spent the winter among the Cherokee, and in the spring of 171f> 
returned to Charleston, where he met with a flattering recep- 
tion. The General Assembly invited him to attend its session 
to receive "the thanks of this House for his services to this 
Province, in his coming so cheerfully with the forces brought 
from North Carolina to our assistance, and for what further 
services he and they have done since their arrival here." 

The Indian wars left North Carolina in a deplorable con- 


dition. They had checked immigration, driven many people 
out of the province, and taken a heavy toll of human life. 
The destruction of property in the Tuscarora War was 
widespread. Bath County, the chief scene of conflict, was 
"totally wasted and ruined." Along the Neuse and the 
Pamlico all livestock had been driven off or killed, crops 
had been destroyed, plantations laid waste, and scarcely a 
cabin had been spared the torch. Conditions in Albemarle, 
although that county had escaped the ravages of actual 
fighting, were but little better. Besides supplying its own 
needs, Albemarle had been compelled for three years to pro- 
vide for the necessities of Bath County and to support the 
military forces raised in both the Carolinas against the enemy. 
Its supply of pork and grain was exhausted, its trade de- 
stroyed, and its people, wrote Governor Pollock, reduced to 
poverty greater than one could well imagine. Throughout 
both counties want and distress were universal. The poor had 
been ruined and the rich made poor. With ' ' scarcely corn to 
last them until wheat time, many not having any at all," with- 
out money "wherewith to pay their debts," "having now little 
or no trade," and therefore unable to "supply themselves with 
clothing necessary for their families," the people of North 
Carolina faced the winter of 1713-14 with gloomy apprehen- 

To their private burdens was added the burden of a public 
debt which Governor Pollock thought was greater than they 
' ' will be able to pay this ten or twelve years. ' ' In 1712, under 
the stress of war, the Assembly had unanimously laid "a great 
duty * * * on all goods exported or imported by land or 
water," but since these duties could not be collected immedi- 
ately, it had authorized the emission of bills of credit to the 
amount of £4,000, — the first issue of paper money in the his- 
tory of North Carolina — which were to be redeemed by the 
revenue arising from the duties. The following year another 
issue of £8,000 was found necessary. North Carolina, there- 
fore, came out of the war heavily in debt and face to face with 
urgent demands for funds for the work of reconstruction. In 
1714, accordingly, in order to redeem the currency already out 
and to provide for the pressing needs of the province, the As- 
sembly authorized the emission of £24,000 in bills which were 
made "passable for all debts at rated commodities of the coun- 
try." By 1722, about one-half of these bills had been retired, 
and the Assembly of that year issued £12,000 in new bills to 
redeem the balance, but when the king purchased the province 


in 1729, £10,000 of the old bills were still outstanding. Accord- 
ingly, before the transfer from the Proprietors to the Crown 
had been completed, in order to retire the £10,000 of outstand- 
ing bills and to provide an additional currency of £30,000, the 
Assembly, "by a pretended Law made in November, 1729," 
authorized an issue of £40,000. 

The Assembly adopted numerous expedients to sustain the 
value of its currency, but it failed to adhere consistently to the 
only one, taxation, which could have accomplished that result. 
Duties were imposed on exports and imports to sustain the 
issue of 1712, but the duties were not collected. Taxes were 
also levied to redeem the bills of 1714, and "the Publick Faith 
was pawn'd" to sustain them; but, as Burrington said, "that 
Faith was afterwards broke in upon, the Taxes for sinking 
them were lessened, and afterwards more Bills emitted." As 
a result, the Assembly was early driven to artificial expedients. 
In 1715, it found it necessary to declare that all persons who 
refused to accept the bills for fees or quit rents, or who took 
them at a discount, were "Guilty of a very Great Breach of 
the act of the Assembly conserning the currency of these 
bills." But the most serious blow to their value came from a 
source over which the Assemblv had no control; the Lords 
Proprietors refused to accept them for any of their fees and 
rents. A committee of the Assembly was appointed to memo- 
rialize the Proprietors on the subject and even to petition them 
to accept the bills in payment for land in both North Carolina 
and South Carolina. The Lords Proprietors were reminded 
that the bills had been issued "to defray the Expence of the 
Warr to save their Lordships Country from a great danger, 
and which they had nothing contributed to defend, therefore it 
was reasonable the Lords should so far partake as to suffer 
their Rents and Dues to be paid in these Bills. ' ; To the As- 
sembly's prayer, however, the Lords Proprietors curtly re- 
plied that the clause in the currency act which made the bills 
receivable for their fees and quit rents was an unreasonable 
interference "in matters relating only to Us," adding, "We 
think you have nothing to do with our Lands and therefore you 
must expect to receive that Clause at least, in that Act of 
Assembly, repeal'd." At the same time they demanded that 
all dues to them be paid "in sterling money," or "in produce 
of the Country equivalent thereto. ' ; This demand was a 
severe blow to the credit of the bankrupt colony, and the 
result was inevitable. Recognizing the impossibility of pre- 
venting depreciation, the Assembly in 1729 accepted the sit- 


uation and reserved to itself the right to declare annually 
at what exchange the bills should pass. In the meantime 
the bills had been sinking lower and lower. As early as 1717 
they were passable even in payment of the stipends of mis- 
sionaries only "at a vast discount." In 1725, they passed 
at about 5 for 1 of sterling, and in 1733 Burrington de- 
clared that he had purchased articles "for which I have pay'd 
in the Province Bills more than 20s for what cost but one in 

One beneficial result of the Indian war was assuredly some 
compensation for its numerous ills. Hancock and his painted 
warriors destroyed the factionalism that had so long cursed 
the colony. During the war Gary, released from custody in 
England, returned to North Carolina, but his arrival excited 
neither the hopes of his former friends nor the fears of his 
enemies. Bitter experience had taught both a lesson, and Cary, 
finding no further opening for the exercise of his talents in 
North Carolina, departed for the West Indies, where history 
fortunately loses sight of him. Governor Pollock bore witness 
to the loyalty with which all factions supported his administra- 
tion, declaring that the war had extinguished "the fire of dif- 
ference and division amongst the people." "The Quakers," 
he said, "though very refractory and ungovernable in Mr. 
Glover's and Governor Hyde's administration, [I] 

must needs acknowledge they have been as ready (especially 
in supplying provision for the forces) as any others in the 
Government." "Thanks be to God," wrote the missionary, 
John Urmstone, in the winter of 1713, "we have no disturb- 
ance among ourselves, but all peoples hearts unite and every 
Member of the Government is as happy as the times will admit 
of under the wise and prudent administration of our good 
President." When Pollock surrendered the administration 
to Governor Eden in May, 1714, the colony was enjoying for 
the first time in a decade a period of "peace and quietness." 


The peace which followed the Tuscarora War was not the 
peace of despair, or of sloth and inaction, nor yet of indiffer- 
ence to the public welfare. The defeat of Cary's revolt 
against Hyde, the separation of the government of North 
Carolina from that of South Carolina, and the expe- 
riences of the Indian war, all tended to strengthen the 
government and to discredit the revival of personal fac- 
tions; the days for such adventurers as Culpepper and 
Miller, "Governor Gibbs" and Thomas Cary, were gone for- 
ever. Never again in its long history, except during the 
dark days of Reconstruction, was a chief executive of North 
Carolina to hold his office by a disputed title. The disgraceful 
quarrels of Everard and Burrington were yet to come, but 
they involved only the narrow circles of the personal friends 
of the disputants; the great body of the people stood aloof 
looking on with amusement or disgust. Issues more important 
than the ambitions and passions of individual leaders gradu- 
ally arose, which grew out of conflicting views of the theories 
and principles of government and formed the basis for logical 
and healthy political divisions among the people. Although 
there were no elaborate organizations, or formal declarations 
of principles and policies, such as characterize modern polit- 
ical parties, nevertheless these divisions were distinct enough 
in personnel and in opinions for us to think of them as political 

First, there was the party which, for lack of a better name, 
we may call the government party. Its cardinal principle was 
belief in the necessity for a strong executive. In the adminis- 
tration of the government, it looked for guidance to instruc- 
tions from the Lords Proprietors — after 1731 from the king — 
which, however inconsistent they might be with the charter, 
the Fundamental Constitutions, or even with the principles of 
the British Constitution itself, it regarded as binding upon all 



colonial officials. This party found its chief support among 
members of the Council and other officials who owed their 
positions to the Lords Proprietors, or to the Crown; among 
those who hope to promote their financial or social 
interests through official influence; and among those 
who sincerely believed that the best interests of the col- 
ony would be served by a government as independent of the 
people as possible. The governor himself was regarded as its 
leader, although not infrequently some prominent colonist, by 
reason of his superior abilities or character, as in the case of 
Thomas Pollock, so overshadowed the governor as to become 
the real if not the nominal party leader. 

Over against this government party was the party which 
the historians of North Carolina like to call the popular party. 
This name expresses its political philosophy. Its fundamental 
principle was that the will of the people should be supreme in 
the government and that the people's will found expression 
through their representatives in the General Assembly. i ' This 
lawless people," wrote Urmstone in 1717, "will allow of no 
power or authority in either Church or state save what is de- 
rived from them.' 1 "The Assembly of this Province," testi- 
fied Burrington in 1731, "have allways usurped more power 
than they ought to have. ' ; "All the Governours that were 
ever in this Province," he wrote at another time, "lived in fear 
of the People * * * and Dreaded their Assemblys. * * * 
They insist that no Public money can or ought to be paid 
but by a claim given to and allowed by the House of Bur- 
gesses.". The people having no voice in the choice of their 
governor, the highest office within their gift was the speaker- 
ship of the General Assembly; to that office, therefore, the am- 
bitious politician aspired and to it the leader of the popular 
party was generally chosen. As the Council was the voice of 
the government party, so the Assembly was the voice of the 
popular party, and most of the political history of the colony 
revolves around the struggles of these two forces for suprem- 

The earliest statement extant of the principles of the two 
parties is found in the records of the second year of Governor 
Eden's administration. Its origin is somewhat obscure, but 
it appears to have grown out of the action of the governor and 
Council in impressing men and property for military service 
against the Indians without specific authority from the Assem- 
bly. For this action, the Assembly severely criticised the exec- 
utive department. When this criticism was brought to the at- 


tention of the Council, that body unanimously resolved that it 
" tends very much to y e Infringement of y e Authorityes and 
powers of y e Government for that it is undoubtedly preroga- 
tive to imppress and provide such necessaryes as they shall 
see fitting on any present Invasion, Insurrection or other 
pressing Emergencies or unforseen necessaties." Thus 
the government party, emphasizing the "prerogative" of the 
executive, in reply to the popular party, which had laid em- 
phasis on the "Authority of Assembly." The views of the 
latter had been expressed in a resolution, drawn, it is thought, 
by Edward Moseley, speaker, and for nearly forty years the un- 
disputed leader of the popular party, and unanimously adopt- 
ed by the Assembly. It declared "that the Impressing the In- 
habitants of this Governm* or their Effects under pretence of 
its being for y e Publick Service without Authority of Assem- 
bly is unwarrantable [and] A Great Infringm* of the Liberty 
of y e Subjects." The popular party thus took its stand in 
support of the principles upon which the American Revolu- 
tion was afterwards fought, and from that position it never 
receded. It is the fact that most of the contests during our 
colonial history between the executive and the Assembly, i. e., 
between the government party and the popular party, in- 
volved this vital principle that lifts them above the level of 
petty colonial politics and clothes them with undying interest 
and significance. 

From the bitter experiences through which North Carolina 
had passed, certain lessons were deducible which were not lost 
upon the people, and these lessons found expression in the 
legislation of the time. It was apparent that many of the col- 
ony's troubles were traceable to the weakness of govern- 
ment, inefficient and often corrupt administration of public 
affairs, and the general confusion arising from the uncertainty 
as to what laws were in force in the province. To remedy these 
evils, the General Assembly in 1714 determined upon a careful 
revision of "the ancient standing laws of this Government," 
and this revision was made by the Assembly in 1715. Its work 
forms a landmark in the history of North Carolina. "When 
the student of our constitutional development, says Dr. Bas- 
sett, comes to this "Eevisal of 1715," he experiences a feeling 
of relief, for here he leaves behind all the confusion and diffi- 
culties arising from a dubious system and meager data, and 
stands at last on solid ground. Doubt gives place to certainty, 
for now, in well preserved and authentic records, he has before 

Vol. 1—8 


him a clear outline of the government. 1 He has, indeed, much 
more than that, for in these revised statutes, sixty-nine in num- 
ber, covering nearly a half-century of our history, we find a 
picture of the life of the people, a record of their struggles and 
achievements, and an expression of their ideals and aspira- 

To strengthen the government, an act ''for the more effect- 
ual observing of the Queen's Peace, and Establishing a good 
and lasting Foundation of Government in North Carolina," 
originally passed in 1711, was brought forward in its entirety. 
The preamble is historically interesting. After attributing the 
"several Revolutions" that had occurred in the colonv, and 
the ruin and suffering resulting from them, to "the late un- 
happy Dissentions" among the people, it asserts that "it has 
pleased God in a great Measure to influence us with a deep 
Concern for our Calamities, and put into our Hands a Power 
and Resolution of removing these threatening Evils and Dan- 
gers, and for the future to procure a happy Restoration of 
Peace and Tranquility amongst us, by making such good and 
wholesome Laws whereby Religion and virtue may flourish, 
our Duty to our Prince and Governors be put in practice and 
maintained, our Laws, Liberties and Estates preserved and 
kept inviolated, and Justice and Trade encouraged." To secure 
these results severe punishment "by fine, imprisonment, pil- 
lory, or otherwise at the discretion of the court," was pro- 
vided for persons found guilty of seditious words or conduct, 
of spreading "false News" or "scurrilous Libels" against 
government, and of participating in conspiracies, riots, or re- 
bellions. As a still further discouragement to future Culpep- 
pers, Gibbses, and Carys, the act also declared that any per- 
son indulging in such pastimes should be incapable of holding 
any office in the province for three years. "And because it has 
always happened." continues this interesting statute, "that 
upon vacancy of the Government, seditious and Evil-minded 
Persons have taken Occasion to dispute the Authority of the 
succeeding governor or President, however Elected or Quali- 
fied, for want of certain Rules being laid down and approved 
of by the Lords Proprietors," the Assembly imposed the duty 
of filling such a vacancy upon the Council and specifically di- 
rected how it should perform that duty. 

Careful attention was also given to problems relating to 
the administration of public affairs. Acts were passed pro- 

The Constitutional Beginnings of North Carolina, p. 60. 


viding for the appointment and defining the duties of certain 
precinct officials ; fixing the fees of all officials from the gov- 
ernor down; requiring every officer, unless appointed by the 
Lords Proprietors, to give bond "for the faithful discharge 
of his Office"; regulating court proceedings; declaring the 
methods of probating wills and granting letters of administra- 
tion ; providing for the care of orphans ; fixing the age at which 
a person should be considered a tithable, and directing how 
lists of tithables should be taken in the several precincts. One 
important act put into effect that clause of the Fundamental 
Constitutions guaranteeing biennial sessions of the General 
Assembly. It fixed the date and places of elections ; directed 
how elections should be held; defined the qualifications for 
members and for voters ; allotted five members each to the pre- 
cincts of Albemarle County and two each to all other precincts ; 
and declared that "the Quorum of the House of Burgesses for 
voting & passing of Bills shall not be less than one full half of 
the House." 

This act was a favorite measure of the popular party, but 
when put to the test it was found to contain defects which nul- 
lified its purpose. In September, 1725, in accordance with its 
provisions, representatives were elected to meet in Assembly 
in November ; but in October, Governor Everard, acting upon 
the advice of his Council, prorogued the session until April 1, 
1726. His action aroused the indignation of the popular 
party, and in defiance of his proclamation the representatives- 
elect met at the appointed time and undertook to organize a 
house. The governor, of course, refused to recognize them as 
a legal body, and declined to send to them the election returns 
of members, or to receive their speaker. The representatives 
thereupon adopted a protest against this "Pretended Proroga- 
tion" as "being Contrary to the Laws of this Province, an In- 
fringement of their Liberty & Breach of the Priviledges of the 
People." Then, having resolved that they would "Proceed to 
no business until their Lawful Priviledges which they now 
claim are Confirm 'd unto them by the Governor & Council," 
they adjourned to the date set by the governor's proclama- 
tion. However, they were forced to recede from their position 
because technically they were in the wrong. The act to which 
they appealed called for biennial sessions, "Provided allways 
& nevertheless that the Powers granted to the Lords Proprie- 
tors from the Crown of Calling, proroguing & dissolving As- 
sembly s are not hereby meant or intended to be invaded, lim- 
ited or restrained. ' ' This provision, of course, placed sessions 


of the Assembly completely at the mercy of the governors, 
who did not fail to make full use of it. Another defect in the 
law was the unequal distribution of representatives among the 
precincts. This inequality of representation later caused a 
division in the popular party itself, which their opponents, 
under the leadership of Governor Johnston, skillfully turned to 
their advantage. The government party also objected to the 
provision that fixed upon a, majority as a quorum, and to the 
assumption that the General Assembly had power to erect pre- 
cincts and grant them representation ; these two features gave 
rise to bitter controversies, and finally, in 1737, led to the 
repeal of the act by the king in Council. 

As there was no printing-press in the colony, the laws were 
to be had only in manuscript form, copies were scarce and 
often inaccessible, and public officials in whose custody they 
were placed were not careful to keep them properly revised. 
So confused had they become that even officials and attorneys 
could not say, without long and inconvenient searching of the 
scattered records, what laws were in force. To clear up this 
uncertainty the Assembly declared that all laws passed prior 
to 1715, unless expressly excepted by title, were repealed and 
that the statutes contained in the revision of 1715 should "be 
of full force & shall be hence forward deemed, taken & ad- 
judged as the body of the laws of this Government & no other 
heretofore made." At the same time, inasmuch as North Car- 
olina was "annexed to and declared to be a Member of the 
Crown of England, ' ' and its laws were required by the charter 
to be in harmony with the laws of England, the Assembly de- 
clared that it was manifest "that the Laws of England are 
the Laws of this Government, as far as they are compatable 
with our Way of Living and Trade." For the information of 
the people, court officials were required to see that a copy of 
the laws be "constantly laid open upon the Court table during 
the sitting of the Court," and each precinct clerk was to read 
them aloud once a year, "publickly & in open Court." 

Among the laws of England expressly declared to be in 
force in North Carolina were "all such laws made for the es- 
tablishment of the Church and the laws made for granting in- 
dulgences to Protestant Dissenters." Not only was the legal 
status of the Church of England thus recognized, it was fur- 
ther declared to be "the only Established Church to have pub- 
lick encouragement " in North Carolina. A vestry act was 
therefore passed which divided the province into nine parishes, 
named vestrymen in each, prescribed their duties, and empow- 


ered them "to raise and levy money by the poll" for support 
of the Establishment. It was the last vestry act passed under 
the proprietary government, and remained in force until 

Ministers were supplied to the colony by the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel. Its first missionary to North 
Carolina was John Blair, who arrived in January, 1704. Blair 
found in the colony three small churches. He remained here 
only six months, but by travelling "one day with another, Sun- 
days only excepted, about thirty miles per diem," and often 
sleeping in the woods at night, he succeeded in covering the 
parishes of Chowan, Perquimans, and Pasquotank. In them he 
organized vestries, instructed them in their duties, preached 
twice every Sunday and often on week-days, and baptized 
about one hundred children. "There are a great many still to 
be baptized," he reported, "whose parents would not conde- 
scend to have them baptized with god-fathers and god-moth- 
ers. ' ' At the end of six months he returned to England to pre- 
sent the needs of the colony to the society. 

Four years passed after Blair's departure before the 
arrival of William Gordon and James Adams, the next 
missionaries of the Church in North Carolina. Gordon 
took up his work in Chowan and Perquimans, Adams 
in Pasquotank and Currituck. In Chowan, Gordon found 
the church badly in need of repair; in Perquimans, he 
found a compact little church, "built with more care and 
expense, and better contrived than that in Chowan, ' ' but still 
unfinished. Adams found no church in either of his parishes, 
but his presence stimulated the people to resolve "to build a 
church and two chapels of ease." Although Gordon remained 
in the colony only four months, and Adams but little more than 
a year, both of these earnest men made a deep impression 
upon the people. Their exemplary characters, their genuine 
interest in the welfare of their parishioners, and the sincerity 
of their faith and piety did much to silence the enemies and 
stimulate the friends of the Establishment, 

Following Gordon and Adams came first John Urm- 
stone and then Giles Eainsford. The latter arrived in 
June, 1712, and remained about two years. At his first 
service he found the people interested, but "perfect 
strangers to the Method of the Worship of our Church. ' ; 
When he preached in "a small Chapel near an Old Indian 
Town" a "vast Crowd" came to hear him, but "exprest very 
little or rather no devotion in time of the divine Service. ' ' On 


another occasion the crowd was so great that he was obliged 
to hold the service out-of-doors "under a large mulberry 
tree"; here the people were devout and "very ready in their 
responses as in their method of singing praises to God." 
Rainsford was a narrow Churchman and immoderate in his ar- 
raignment of Quakers and "Quakerism," but he was sincere 
and upright and displayed intelligent zeal in his labors. The 
Indians particularly excited his sympathetic interest. He 
lived five months with the Chowanocs, made himself "almost a 
Master at their Language," and tried to teach them the prin- 
ciples of Christianity. 

In 1717 Ebenezer Taylor came as a missionary to 
Bath County. He was "aged and very infirm," but neither 
age nor infirmity could dampen his ardor. For four years 
he labored zealously and finally, in 1720, met his death 
from exposure and cold "after having been ten days and 
nights in an open boat" in the dead of winter. Taylor's suc- 
cessor in Bath was Thomas Bailey, who came about 1725; 
Bailey's colleague in Albemarle was John Blacknall. Of 
Bailey and Blacknall, their work and character, it is impossible 
to speak with certainty. They left no records of their own, 
and so completely were they involved in the quarrels of Gov- 
ernor Everard and George Burrington that the testimony of 
their contemporaries is worthless as a basis of judgment. 
Bailey, whom the vestry of St. Thomas Parish at Bath charac- 
terized as "our Pious & Exemplary Minister," was denounced 
by Governor Everard as "a scandalous drunken man;" while 
Blacknall, according to the same authority, was "a very good 
Preacher, a Gent m perfectly sober, belov'd by all but Mr. Bur- 
rington 's Party. ' ' 

Finally, there was the notorious John Urmstone. No 
difficulty in reaching a correct judgment confronts us here. 
With his own hand, in numerous letters to the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel, Urmstone revealed his own 
character both as a man and as a minister, and in neither 
capacity does he show a single redeeming quality. Quarrel- 
some, dishonest, self-seeking and avaricious, false in word and 
faithless in conduct, he was utterly lacking in genuine piety or 
Christian charity and devoid of the slightest sense of his duty 
as a minister of the Church. Both the Church and the colony 
were gainers when, in March, 1721, without notice or explana- 
tion, he suddenly deserted his post and sailed for England. His 
desertion, says Governor Eden, left "nine parishes consisting 
































of upwards of 2,500 white souls entirely destitute of any as- 
sistance in religious affairs." 

Historians are agreed that the Establishment was a hin- 
drance to the development of religious life in North Carolina, 
but they attribute this result to different causes. One traces 
it chiefly to the character of the colonial clergy, another to the 
insuperable physical difficulties incident to a frontier commun- 
ity. "The wickedness and carelessness of the people," in the 
opinion of Dr. Weeks, "was induced in part, no doubt, by the 
badness of the missionaries. * * the chief fruit [of 

their labors] was civil dissension and bloodshed, culminating 
in foistering on the colony an Establishment which was to be a 
constant source of annoyance and which is directly responsible 
for a large share of the backwardness of the State. ' ' 2 Bishop 
Cheshire, on the other hand, sees in the several vestry acts 
passed from 1701 to 1715 "evidence of a reviving interest in 
religion" among the people generally. "In almost all parts 
of the colony," he says, "the people desired the ministrations 
of the Church but they were mostly living upon isolated plan- 
tations. No missionary could reach and serve a sufficient num- 
ber of people to form any effective organization. The legal es- 
tablishment, with its power to levy taxes for the support of the 
Church, was a real disadvantage, because it provided no ade- 
quate support while it took off the sense of obligation from 
the most zealous members of the Church. Clergymen and mis- 
sionaries came and labored for a while and then disappeared ; 
some good, some indifferent, others weak and unworthy ; and 
very few of them, even the best, able to deal effectively with 
the strange conditions of the new and poor settlement. ' ' 3 The 
historian and the Churchman are both partially right, but 
neither sees the whole truth. The missionaries, as a rule, were 
better men than the prejudices of the historian will allow; 
nevertheless, had they been as zealous as their calling and task 
demanded, they would have overcome most of the difficulties 
which the Churchman pleads in extenuation of their failure. 
During the proprietary period of our history a majority of the 
people of North Carolina undoubtedly adhered to the teach- 
ings and preferred the liturgy of the Church of England, and 
would have been glad to see that Church strong and flourishing 
in the colony; but even then many of the ablest Churchmen 

2 Church and State in North Carolina, p. 22 (J. E. V. Studies, 
11th Series, Nos. V-VI). 

3 "How Our Church Came to North Carolina," in The Spirit of 
Missions, Vol. LXXXIII, No. 5, p. 349. 



seemed to have had an instinctive feeling that an Established 
Church was an anomaly in the New World and out of harmony 
with the spirit of the civilization which they were developing 
here. Their instinct was right, and that is why the Establish- 
ment in North Carolina was a failure. 

It cannot be said that the Dissenters were ever reconciled 
to the Establishment; still, after 1715, they made little or no 
organized opposition to it. They probably felt that such resist- 
ance would be futile and result only in arousing the church 
party to action. As it was, Churchmen generally displayed but 
little interest in the Establishment; enforcement of the law 
was always lax, and its burdens more imaginary than real. 
But perhaps the chief reason for the lack of organized opposi- 
tion was the act of 1715, which gave Dissenters a legal status 
and threw around them the protection of the law. The same 
act which declared that all laws of England "made for the Es- 
tablishment of the Church" were the laws of North Carolina 
also declared to be of equal force in the colony all "laws 
made for granting indulgences to Protestant Dissenters. ' ' The 
position of Protestant Dissenters in England had been defined 
in the Toleration Act of 1689, which granted to them the privi- 
lege of attending their own places of worship and guaranteed 
them freedom from disturbance upon condition that they took 
the oath of allegiance and subscribed the declaration against 
transubstantiation. In line with this policy, the North Caro- 
lina Assembly, immediately after passing the vestry act of 
1715, passed "An Act for Liberty of Conscience," which de- 
clared "that all Protestant Dissenters within the Government 
shall have their Meetings for the exercise of their Religion 
without Molestation. ' : It also granted to Quakers the right to 
affirm, but forbade them "by virtue of this Act" to serve as 
jurors, to testify in criminal cases, or to hold office. Although 
many irritating and unjustifiable restrictions were still im- 
posed upon Dissenters yet this act was recognized as a great 
step forward, and, as Dr. Weeks says, "From that time the 
Dissenters, in characteristic English fashion, submitted to the 
will of the majority and began to fight their battle along legal 
and technical lines. During the next sixty-two years North 
Carolina was not without discussion and agitation on ecclesi- 
astical matters, and this dissension, culminating in the Meck- 
lenburg instructions of 1775 and 1776, and crystallizing in the 
Constitution adopted at Halifax in December, 1776, put North 
Carolina close to Virginia, the first political organization to 


solve the problem of a free church in a free state, each inde- 
pendent of the other. ' ' 4 

Politics and religion shared the attention of the Assembly 
of 1715 with immigration and industry. The statutes of 1669 
relating to trade, landholding, and foreign debts, which were 
designed to attract immigration, were re-enacted ; while one 
of the purposes of the act providing for biennial sessions of 
the Assembly, it was expressly stated, was to secure to the 
colony through "the frequent sitting of Assembly [which] is 
a principal safeguard of the People's privileges" such "privi- 
leges & immunities" as would attract immigrants and "there- 
by enlarge the Settlement. ' : Several statutes were passed re- 
lating to trade, commerce, and transportation. "For estab- 
lishing a Certainty in Trade," a legal rating was given to cer- 
tain commodities at which all persons were required to receive 
them in payment of debts unless their contracts specifically 
called for payment in sterling money. To promote facility in 
trading, as well as to prevent fraud, standards of weights and 
measures were fixed and entrusted to the care of the vestries, 
who were required to keep them accessible for testing. Every 
cooper, for instance, was required to stamp his barrels with 
his "proper Brand Mark," which must have been previously 
registered in the office of the precinct clerk, and heavy penal- 
ties were imposed for failure to come up to the specifications 
required by law. Attempts to pass off commodities "not good 
or Merchantable," or packed in unlawful casks, were punish- 
able by heavy fines. One of the most serious obstacles to the 
prosperity of the colony had been the absence of grist-mills. 
Mill sites were scarce and more than fifty years passed after 
the settlement of North Carolina before a mill was erected in 
the colony. As late as 1710 De Graffenried states that "there 
was in the whole province only one wretched water mill." 
Poor people pounded their grain in wooden mortars, while 
the wealthy used hand mills, or else imported flour and meal 
from New England. The Assembly of 1715 sought a remedy 
for this situation in an act which permitted mill sites to be 
condemned, but mills erected on such condemned sites were to 
be "Publick Mills," required by law to grind all grain offered 
to them at a fixed legal toll. Looking to the improvement of 
inland transportation and commerce, the Assembly adopted a 
comprehensive plan for the laying out of roads, the building 
of bridges, and the establishment of ferries, and for then- 
maintenance; while for the encouragement of inter-colonial 

4 Church and State in North Carolina, p. 11. 


and foreign commerce it made provision for keeping pilots at 
Roanoke and Ocracoke inlets who were required "constantly 
and diligently to make it their business to search & find out the 
most convenient channels," keep them properly staked out, and 
to pilot vessels safely over the bars. 

Recognizing the importance of towns as centers of trade 
and commerce, the Assembly for the "Encouragement of the 
Town of Bath and all other Towns now or hereafter Built 
within this Government," conferred upon them whenever they 
should have at least sixty families the privilege of representa- 
tion in the General Assembly. At this time Bath, Edenton, 
and New Bern were the only towns in North Carolina. Of 
Bath, the oldest of these towns, William Gordon wrote in 1709 
that it "consists of about twelve houses and is the only town in 
the province. I must own it is not the unpleasantest 

part of the country — nay, in all probability it will be the center 
of a trade, as having the advantage of a better inlet for ship- 
ping, and surrounded with the most pleasant of savannahs, 
very useful for stocks of cattle." The Tuscarora War struck 
Bath a hard blow from which it never recovered. ' ' We expect 
to hear," wrote Urmstone in 1714, "that famous city of Bath, 
consisting of nine houses, or rather cottages, once styled the 
metropolis and seat of this Government, will be totally de- 
serted." In an effort to revive it the Lords Proprietors in 
1716 made Bath a port of entry, but to no purpose; fifteen 
years later Governor Burrington reported that Bath was "a 
town where little improvements have been made." A better 
fortune awaited De Graffenried's "townlet" on the Neuse. 
The act of 1715 granting representation to towns with sixty 
families conferred this privilege upon New Bern "altho' there 
should not be Sixty families Inhabiting in the said Town.' : In 
1723, having recovered somewhat from the disasters of the 
Indian war, New Bern was incorporated and its boundaries 
greatly enlarged. It enjoyed an advantageous situation for 
trade and soon became the largest town, and eventually the 
capital of the province. For many years New Bern's only 
rival, as a political and commercial center, was the "Towne 
on Queen Anne's Creek," which, in 1722, was incorporated 
under the name of Edenton in honor of Governor Eden whose 
home was there. From 1720 to 1738, the Assembly held its 
sessions at Edenton which was accordingly looked upon as the 
seat of government. Though never counting in colonial times 
a population of more than four or five hundred, Edenton re- 
tained its importance as the political, social and commercial 
center of the colony until after the Revolution. 


The removal of the constant menace presented by the pres- 
ence of the Tuscarora, the displacing of personal factions as 
the mainspring of politics by real political parties, and the 
strengthening of the authority of government prepared the 
way for a period of growth and progress in North Carolina for 
which the legislation of 1715 laid the foundation. Under the 
stimulus of peace and the resultant feeling of security, the col- 
ony was able to repay its debt to South Carolina for her aid in 
the Tuscarora War ; to revive its trade ; to free itself from the 
disgrace of piracy; to increase its population and expand its 
frontiers ; to settle peacefully its long-standing boundary dis- 
pute with Virginia ; and, finally, to undergo a profound change 
in its government without a jar. 

On May 28, 1714, Charles Eden took the oath of office as 
governor. He was a man of fair ability and amiable disposi- 
tion and, except for suspicions of improper dealings with 
"Blackbeard, " the pirate, was generally held in high esteem 
in the colony. The "peace and quietness" which he found 
upon his arrival continuing throughout his administration, 
were favorable to the revival of trade and commerce. Internal 
trade conditions were improved by a stricter enforcement of 
the road law. At a single session of the General Court in 1720 
three road overseers were indicted and subsequently fined for 
neglect of their duty in the "making, mending, & Repairing of 
Roads & Highways." Many new roads were cut through the 
wilderness. Especially important was the road laid out by 
Governor Burrington "from Nuse to Cape Fear River about 
one hundred miles in length," which was a realization in part 
of the long-cherished plan of the Lords Proprietors to estab- 
lish a land route between their two provinces. This road not 
only stimulated trade; it also served as a highway for settlers 
who were seeking new homes on the Cape Fear. Intercolonial 
trade which had been practically destroyed by the Cary Re- 
bellion and the Indian wars also showed signs of revival and 



New England skippers piloted through the channels of Ocra- 
coke and Roanoke inlets, now marked out in accordance with 
the pilotage law of 1715, once more cast their anchors at the 
wharves of the hospitable planters. The erection of a num- 
ber of saw mills greatly increased the output of lumber as an 
article of commerce ; while during the decade following 1715, 
tar, pitch and turpentine, commodities for which North Caro- 
lina afterwards became so famous, began to appear in the 
lists of the colony's exports. "Of late," says a report writ- 
ten in 1720, "they [the planters] made ab 1 6000 barrells of 
pitch and tarre which the New England sloops carry first to 
New England and then to Great Brittain. " Efforts were 
made to keep this reviving trade in legitimate channels by 
appropriating part of the duty on imports "to Beacon out 
the Channels from Roanoke to Ocracoke Inlets," and by es- 
tablishing collection districts at Currituck, at Edenton on the 
Roanoke, at Bath on the Pamlico, at Beaufort at Topsail In- 
let, and later at Brunswick on the Cape Fear ; but these meas- 
ures served chiefly to stimulate smuggling which increased 
more rapidly than legitimate trade. 

Most of this smuggling was done by traders who had 
purchased their cargoes honestly and became violators of the 
law only when they evaded the payment of the duties, but 
much of it was the work of out-and-out pirates. Piracy had 
long been one of the chief obstacles to the development of the 
commerce of the Carolinas, the natural dangers that repelled 
legitimate traders making the Carolina coast a favorite re- 
sort for buccaneers. Behind the bars and shifting sands that 
obstruct the entrances to the Carolina waters scores of pirates 
rested secure from interference, leisurely repaired damages, 
and kept a sharp lookout for prey. But nature was not their 
only ally. The corruption of many of the colonial officials, 
the weakness of the proprietary government, the willingness 
of the people to shelter violators of the navigation laws with- 
out enquiring too strictly into the nature of their enterprises, 
all combined with the character of the coast to stimulate 
smuggling and piracy. The period from 1650 to the close of 
the first decade of the eighteenth century, John Fiske has 
aptly called "the golden age of pirates." It was during this 
period that Carolina was settled and for the reasons just 
mentioned became a retreat for freebooters. As early as 
1683, the Board of Trade complained of the "harbouring and 
encouraging of Pirates in Carolina and other Governments 


and Proprietys," but it was not until 1718 that effective meas- 
ures were taken to destroy the evil. 

It would be easy to attach too much significance to these 
facts and to draw from them conclusions which they do not 
warrant as to the comparative morality of the people of the 
Carolinas. In none of the colonies, during the seventeenth 
century, was there that condemnation of smuggling and that 
horror of piracy characteristic of more highly organized com- 
munities and of more enlightened ages, and the freebooter 
with a rich cargo for sale knew well enough that neither in 
Boston nor in New York, in Philadelphia nor in Baltimore, 
need he fear too close a scrutiny into his title to his property 
if he were liberal enough with his presents and his rum, and 
if his prices were satisfactory. Besides, the extent to which 
piracy flourished in Carolina and in the other proprietary 
colonies was greatly exaggerated. Most of the reports on the 
subject came from crown officials, or from officials of crown 
colonies, who made but little distinction between smugglers 
and pirates ; their reports moreover were part of the propa- 
ganda carried on for many years for the purpose of dis- 
crediting the proprietary colonies in order to pave the way 
for their seizure by the Crown. 

Nevertheless the evil was serious enough and efforts to 
induce the colonial authorities to exterminate it proved un- 
availing. Too many of the officials were hand in glove with 
the robbers. In South Carolina, Robert Quarry, secretary of 
the colony, was dismissed from office "for harbouring pirates 
and other misdemeanors"; his successor, Joseph Morton, 
was charged with permitting pirates openly to use Charles- 
ton harbor for securing their prizes; and John Boone was 
expelled from the Council for correspondence with the free- 
booters. In North Carolina, it was charged that Seth Sothel 
actually issued commissions "to Pvrates for rewards"; that 
John Archdale sheltered pirates "for which favour he was 
well paid by them"; that Governor Eden and Tobias Knight, 
the latter secretary of the colony and acting chief-justice, 
actually shared the pirates' ill-gotten gains. Perhaps some 
of these accusations were groundless, but that so many offi- 
cials fell under suspicion indicates a low state of official moral- 
ity. Finally, near the close of the seventeenth century, the 
king, despairing of accomplishing anything through colonial 
officials, determined to take a hand himself in the matter, and 
by a judicious mixture of executive clemency and extreme 
severity soon drove the enemy out of all their strongholds ex- 


cept New Providence and Cape Fear. In 1718, an English 
fleet captured New Providence. "One of its immediate ef- 
fects, however," as Fiske observes, "was in turn the whole 
remnant of the scoundrels over to the North Carolina coast, 
where they took their final stand." 

Among the noted pirates who had made their headquarters 
at New Providence were Edward Teach, or Thatch, better 
known as "Blackbeard," and Major Stede Bonnet. The for- 
mer was merely a pirate, — a swaggering, merciless brute with- 
out even that picturesqueness of personality which has clothed 
so manv of his kind with romantic interest and robbed their 
careers of the horrors which the naked truth would inspire; 
the latter was a gentleman of birth, wealth and education, who 
had already won distinction and rank as a soldier when, catch- 
ing the contagion of the times, in a spirit of adventure, he 
turned his back upon all and joined "Blackbeard" in his ca- 
reer of crime. After being driven from New Providence, 
"Blackbeard" made his headquarters at Bath, Bonnet at 
Cape Fear, and together they harried the coast from Maine 
to Florida. But the day had passed when it was considered 
respectable to hold dealings with pirates, and the evil repute 
which their wild deeds brought upon North Carolina together 
with the lethargy of the officials in dealing with them, aroused 
the indignation of such men as Edward Moseley and Maurice 
Moore. They could effect nothing, however, because, as it 
was currently believed and afterwards proved, some of the 
highest officials, including certainly the secretary of the col- 
ony, and possibly the governor, were beneficiaries of the 
pirates, and refused to move against them. 

The blows which destroyed piracy in North Carolina wat- 
ers, therefore, came from South Carolina and Virginia. Gov- 
ernor Robert Johnson of South Carolina had suffered a deep 
official and personal humiliation at the hands of "Black- 
beard" and was eager to wipe out the disgrace. When, there- 
fore, he learned in the summer of 1718, that a pirate was suc- 
cessfully operating off the coast of the Carolinas, he promptly 
fitted out an expedition under Col. William Rhett, a daring 
and experienced seaman, and sent him in search of the pirate. 
Rhett found his enemy lurking behind the bars at the mouth 
of the Cape Fear River and after a desperate battle of five 
hours captured him. He proved to be none other than the 
notorious Bonnet. Carried at once to Charleston, Bonnet 
was tried, convicted, and hanged. A few weeks later, Gov- 
ernor Spotswood of Virginia receiving information that 


Teach was in Carolina waters with a prize, secretly fitted 
out two sloops manned with crews from British men-of-war 
then stationed in the James River, placed them in command 
of Lieut. Robert Maynard of the royal navy, and sent them 
in search of the freebooter. Maynard found Teach near Ocra- 
coke Inlet and on November 22, 1718, attacked him. The bat- 
tle long hung in doubt. Fortune finally seemed to favor the 
pirates when Teach at the head of a strong attacking party 
boarded Maynard 's sloop. Maynard, however, had adopted 
a stratagem to bring about this very movement, and his men 
who had been hiding below, now rushed on deck, and in a 
desperate hand-to-hand conflict killed "Blaekbeard" and over- 
powered his followers. Of " Blackboard's" crew of eighteen 
men, one-half had been killed outright; the other half were 
made prisoners, carried to Virginia, tried and convicted of 
piracy. The victories over Bonnet and Teach were decisive 
blows to piracy along the Carolina coast, and after a few more 
years the black flags of the buccaneers disappeared from our 

High public officials had been for some time under sus- 
picion of complicity with the pirates and this suspicion became 
a certainty when a friendly letter of recent date from Secre- 
tary Knight and a memorandum of goods deposited with him 
by the pirate were found upon the person of the dead ' ' Black- 
beard." Knight wrote: "My ffriend, If this finds you yet in 
harbour I would have you make the best of your way up as 
soon as possible. * I have something more to say to 

you than at present I can write. * I expect the Gov- 

ernor this night or tomorrow who I believe would be likewise 
glad to see you before you goe. * * Your real ffriend 

and Servant, T. Knight." Knight however strenuously de- 
nied having received any goods from "Blackbeard," but a 
search made by Spotswood's officers, accompanied by Edward 
Moseley and Maurice Moore, revealed the articles concealed in 
his barn. In spite of this evidence, the governor and Council 
publicly exonerated Knight, denounced the charges against 
him as false and malicious, and declared him innocent of 
wrong-doing; but the evidence was conclusive of Knight's 
guilt, and the governor's anxiety to prevent his prosecution 
seemed to many persons to confirm the suspicions attaching 
to his own relations with the pirate. 

These suspicions Moseley and Moore undertook to probe 
to the bottom. For that purpose they sought to examine the 
records of Knight's office which, according to the instructions 


of the Lords Proprietors, were subject to public inspection. 
Denied this right, with some of their followers they broke 
into a private house in which the records were deposited, and 
seized and examined them. For this offense, the governor 
promptly issued a warrant for their arrest and ordered out 
a strong armed posse to execute it. Moseley denounced his 
conduct in vigorous language, declaring that the governor 
"could easily procure armed men to come and disturb quiet 
& honest men, but could not (tho' such a Number would have 
clone) raise them to destroy Thack. " "It is like the com- 
mands of a German Prince ! " he exclaimed indignantly. For 
these and other "seditious words" he was indicted under the 
statute of 1715 "for the more effectual observing of the King's 
Peace, and Establishing a good and lasting Foundation of 
Government in North Carolina," to which his own name, curi- 
ously enough, is signed as speaker of the Assembly. The 
case aroused great public interest. Moseley was the acknowl- 
edged leader of the popular party, and his contest with the 
governor assumed a political importance which lifted it above 
an ordinary criminal prosecution. Popular sympathy was 
with Moseley; even the jurors, bound as they were by their 
oath, seem to have done their best to find a loophole through 
which they might extricate the popular champion, for while 
they could not deny that he had uttered the words with which 
he was charged, they returned as their verdict that "if the 
Law be for our Sovereign Lord and King, then we find him the 
s d Edward Moseley Guilty, but if the Law be for the s d Mose- 
ley then we find him not Guilty." The court decided that the 
law was against Moseley, imposed upon him a fine of £100, 
and declared him incapable of holding any office or place of 
trust in the colony for three years. Thus Eden triumphed, 
his rival was silenced, and his dealings with the pirates 
shielded from further investigation, for before Moseley 's disa- 
bilities were removed, Eden's death had put an end to their 

Eden's successor was George Burrington, a native of that 
county of Devon, which gave to England so many of those 
great navigators and adventurers to whom she owed her Amer- 
ican empire, the home of Gilbert, Hawkins, Grenville, 
Drake, and Raleigh. Burrington himself was not without 
the high spirit and ability which distinguished these men, but 
he had serious defects of character which rendered it impos- 
sible for him to rival their achievements. lie had the aggres- 
sive spirit and dauntless courage that qualify men for leader- 

Vol. 1—9 


ship, but he was governed by a violent, uncontrollable temper 
that invariably drove high-spirited men from the ranks of 
his followers. He had the restless energy and boundless am- 
bition which inspire men to great enterprises, but he was pos- 
sessed of an overweening egotism that made him incapable 
of sinking his personal interests in the interest of a cause. He 
had the keen insight into current conditions and the resource- 
fulness of intellect which fit men for the tasks of statesman- 
ship, but he was controlled by a spirit of blind partisanship 
which destroyed his usefulness for the highest forms of pub- 
lic service. 

Burrington was a bundle of contradictions. As governor 
he was zealous for the good of the province, but he was domi- 
neering and tyrannical in his conduct; he was fertile in ideas 
for its development, but tactless in presenting them to the con- 
sideration of others and intolerant of opposition ; he was ener- 
getic in carrying his plans into execution, but ruthless and 
unscrupulous in his methods. His zeal for the public welfare 
was never unmixed with his personal interests for he had 
staked out for himself vast estates in the province and did 
not scruple to use his official position to enhance their value. 
In his relations with other men, he acknowledged no neutrals. 
There were only friends and enemies. But both his friend- 
ships and his enmities were as often dictated by genuine in- 
terest in the affairs of the province as by personal feelings; 
and to advance the one or indulge the other, he was as ready 
to sacrifice his friends as to crush his enemies, and he did 
both with equal efficiency. Dissimulation was utterly foreign 
to his character ; he was open and frank in friendship and in 
enmity, and gave no man cause to doubt where he would stand 
in any controversy; but with his friends he was selfish and 
exacting, domineering and, if his interests so dictated, faith- 
less; while with his enemies he was quarrelsome and relent- 
less, vengeful and brutal. His official papers show an inti- 
mate knowledge of the country and the measures best adapted 
to promote its development and considered alone, unconnected 
with his quarrels, present him as an active, intelligent and 
efficient official ; but they cannot be considered alone, and they 
reveal him, therefore, as a man of ability, indeed, but utterly 
disqualified by character for the position he occupied. 

Burrington was appointed governor in February, 1723, 
but he did not arrive in North Carolina until January, 1724. 
It was characteristic of him that he should align himself with 
the popular party. Moseley, who was of his Council, received 

Christopher Gale 

First Chief Justice of North Carolina 


from him numerous marks of confidence. When about to set 
out upon a journey to South Carolina, Burrington designated 
Moseley as acting-governor in his absence. He associated him- 
self with Moseley, Moore and other leaders of the popular 
party in planting settlements on the Cape Fear. The Assem- 
bly, too, found him responsive to its wishes. At its request he 
ordered the Carolina land office, which had been closed by 
order of the Lords Proprietors, to be re-opened; and although 
the Lords Proprietors had forbidden the sale of any land 
within twenty miles of Cape Fear, again at the instance of the 
Assembly he ordered this instruction to be disregarded. The 
government party, which considered the governor as its nat- 
ural head, keenly resented Burrington 's desertion. Chief Jus- 
tice Gale now became its leader, and early came into hostile 
conflict with Burrington who threatened to slit Gale's nose, 
crop his ears, "lay him in irons," and blow up his house with 
gun-powder. Unable to make headway against the governor 
and the Assembly, Gale finally carried his case to the Lords 
Proprietors. He charged that Burrington had violently broken 
up the sittings of the General Court, thereby rendering the 
chief justice incapable of executing his office; that Burring- 
ton had made murderous assaults upon him forcing him "in 
bodily fear of his life ' ' to flee the province ; that Burrington 
had been guilty of malpractices in office whereby he had pre- 
vented the king's customs officers from performing their du- 
ties. These charges, which the Assembly denounced as "mali- 
cious," the Lords Proprietors, who were accustomed to such 
violent controversies in their province, might have been will- 
ing to overlook in view of the material prosperity which the 
colony was enjoying under Burrington 's energetic adminis- 
tration ; but a fourth count against him, hinted at rather than 
openly charged, was a more serious matter. It was suggested 
that Burrington "intended a Eevolution in this Government 
as was some years ago in South Carolina." The reference 
of course was to the Revolution of 1719 in which the South 
Carolinians overthrew the proprietary government and in- 
vited the Crown to assume direct control of their affairs. Bur- 
rington 's efforts to ingratiate himself with the popular party, 
his close association with Moseley and with Moore, whose 
brother had been a prominent leader in the South Carolina 
Revolution, his repudiation of the instructions of the Lords 
Proprietors, his zeal in opening the Cape Fear to settlements, 
and his visits to South Carolina, all gave color to the sugges- 
tion, and alarmed the Lords Proprietors, who in great haste 


removed him after he had been but a year in office, and ap- 
pointed to succeed him Sir Richard Everard, who qualified 
at Edenton, July 19, 1725. 

Neither the Proprietors nor the colony reaped any benefit 
from the change. It resulted, for the former, in hastening 
the transfer of their property to the Crown ; for the latter, in 
six years of bad government. Everard had all the vices and 
none of the virtues of Burrington. His intellect was mean, 
his character contemptible. As a man he was vain, selfish and 
cowardly ; as governor he practiced nepotism, tyrannized over 
his colleagues, and accepted bribes. Besides these disqualifi- 
cations for his place he was strongly suspected of Jacobitism. 
Upon the death of George I, it is said, he exclaimed with an 
air of exultation: "Now adieu to the Hanover family; we 
have done with them !' He had administered the government 
but a few months before Chief Justice Gale, Thomas Pollock, 
and other leaders who had hailed his appointment as a great 
party triumph, were clamoring for his removal. Because of 
his "great Incapacity and "Weakness," they declared, the gov- 
ernment had "grown so weak and Feeble" that but for its 
transfer to the Crown "it could not have subsisted much 
longer, but must have Dwindled and sunk into the utmost Con- 
fusion and Disorder.' 1 Everard was the last of the proprie- 
tary governors. During his administration the Lords Propri- 
etors surrendered their charter to the Crown, — a step which, 
though inevitable sooner or later, was doubtless hastened by 
the utter breakdown of the proprietary government under 
Everard 's direction. 

The period covered by the administrations of Eden, Bur- 
rington, and Everard, in spite of bad government, was a peri- 
od of growth and improvement. Immigration increased rap- 
idly, settlements expanded to the west and the south, and four 
new precincts were erected for the convenience of the new 
settlers. By 1720 settlements had ceased to hug the coast. 
Now and then some adventurer, more daring than the rest, 
with axe in one hand and rifle in the other, had dared to turn 
his back upon the older communities and plunge into the great 
unexplored forests to the westward. Along the bank of some 
stream he would select a fertile spot, clear away the trees, and 
build his rude cabin. Scores of such cabins were soon scat- 
tered throughout the interior. North of Albemarle Sound 
and Roanoke River, such settlers early pushed across the 
broad placid waters of Chowan River into the wilderness be- 
yond. In 1722, the Assembly found that "that part of Albe- 


marie County lying" on the West side of Chowan River, being 
part of Chowan Precinct, is now inhabited almost to the ut- 
most of the said County Westward" and that the inhabitants 
were daily "growing very numerous"; for their convenience, 
therefore, it erected that region into the precinct of Bertie. 
Settlers were also pushing southward. The overthrow of the 
Tuscarora along the Neuse had removed the most serious ob- 
stacle to the expansion of the province in that direction; and 
during the decade from 1713 to 1723, a few scattered adven- 
turers cut their way through the wilderness as far south as 
White Oak and New rivers in what is now Onslow County. 
In 1724-25, more than 1,000 families came into the province, 
most of whom pushed on across the Albemarle Sound into 
Bath County which rilled up so rapidly that before 1730 three 
new precincts — Tyrrell (1729) at the extreme north end of 
the county, Carteret (1722) at the extreme east, and New Han- 
over (1729) embracing the infant settlement on the Cape Fear 
River, in the extreme south — were found necessary for the 
accommodation of the people. 

About the same time that the opening of the Cape Fear 
added that fertile region to the province in the South, an im- 
portant addition was made in the North by the settlement of 
the long-standing boundary-line dispute with Virginia. Credit 
for this result was due chiefly to Governor Eden, who in 1716, 
in a spirit of compromise, reached an agreement with Gov- 
ernor Spotswood of Virginia, which made the settlement pos- 
sible. It will be remembered that the charter of 1665 called 
for the line to be run from ' ' the north end of Currituck river 
or inlet" in a direct westerly direction "to Wyonoak Creek ' : 
in 36 degrees, 30 minutes, north latitude. The question in 
dispute was the location of Weyanoke Creek, Virginia main- 
taining its identity with Wicocon Creek, North Carolina with 
Nottoway River. Since this question could never be settled 
with absolute certainty, the interests of both colonies sug- 
gested a compromise. Eden and Spotswood, therefore, agreed 
upon one of three courses, viz : beginning at the north shore 
of Currituck Inlet the line should run due west to Chowan 
River; if it cut the Chowan between the mouths of Nottoway 
River and Wicocon Creek, it should continue in the same 
course to the mountains ; if it cut the Chowan south of its con- 
junction with Wicocon Creek, it should run from that point up 
the river to the creek, thence west; if it cut Blackwater River 
north of Nottoway River, it should run down the Blackwater to 
the Nottoway, thence west. This agreement was signed by 


both governors and transmitted by Eden to the Lords Propri- 
etors, by Spotswood to the Crown for ratification. Spotswood 
urged ratification upon the Crown, saying that the compromise 
contained "the only Overture which has been made from ye 
beginning, wherein both Governments could be brought to ac- 
quiesce"; that while both sides adhered to their original 
claims, "it was not easy to foresee an end to this contest, 
though the Inconveniencys to both Governments by the con- 
tinuance of this dispute is very obvious, and likely still to 
increase, many people settling themselves in those contro- 
verted Lands who own obedience to ye laws of neither Prov- 
ince." Both the king and the Lords Proprietors ratified the 
agreement and directed the line to be run accordingly. These 
directions were not given, however, until after the death of 
Eden and the removal of Spotswood from office. 

The line was run in 1728. On the part of North Carolina 
the commissioners were Christopher Gale, John Lovick, Wil- 
liam Little, and Edward Moseley; on the part of Virginia, 
William Byrd, Richard Fitz-Williams, and William Dand- 
ridge. The Virginians, desiring to turn their arduous enter- 
prise into a triumphant pageant through the wilderness, made 
elaborate preparations in keeping with the dignity of the great 
province they represented. That the Carolina commissioners 
might come similarly prepared, they took pains to notify them 
of their plans. Besides themselves and their retinue of per- 
sonal servants, they said, their party would embrace a chap- 
lain, scientists and mathematicians, Indian traders, expert 
woodsmen, and a company of soldiers. "We shall have with 
us a Tent and Marques for the convenience of ourselves and 
our Servants. We bring as much wine and rum as will enable 
us and our men to drink every night to the good Success of 
the following day. And because we understand there are many 
Gentiles on the frontier who never had oppertunity of being 
Baptized we shall have a Chaplain with us to make them 
Christians." The Carolina commissioners, who had not con- 
sidered any pom]) and ceremony as necessary in connection 
with their undertaking, were astonished by this announcement 
and somewhat perplexed as to the course they shouldjidopt. 
Their hard common sense, however, came to their rescue. 
"We are at a Loss, Gentlemen," they wrote, "whether to 
thank you for the particulars you give us of your Tent Stores 
and the manner you design to meet us. Had you been silent 
about it we had not wanted an Excuse for not meeting you in 
the same manner but now vou force us to Expose the naked- 


ness of our Country and to tell yon we cant possibly meet you 
in the manner onr great respect to you would make us glad 
to do whom we are not Emulous of outdoing unless in Care & 
Di'lligence in the affair we come to meet you about. So all we 
can answer to that article is that we will Endeavour to pro- 
vide as well as the Circumstances of things will admit us and 
what we may want in necessaries we hope will be made up in 
the Spiritual Comfort we expect from your Chaplain of whom 
we shall give notice as you desire to all Lovers of Novelty 
and doubt not of a great many Boundary Christians. " " That 
keen thrust under the guard," comments George Davis, ''de- 
livered too with all the glowing courtesy of knighthood, is ex- 
quisite. If the Virginians were as familiar with 
sweet Will as they undoubtedly were with the value of tent 
stores, they must have had an uncomfortable remembrance of 
Sir Andrew Aguecheek — 'An I thought he had been so cun- 
ning in fence, I'd have seen him damned ere I'd have chal- 
lenged him.' " 

The commissioners began their work at Currituck Inlet, 
March 6, 1728, and having ascertained the exact location of 
36 degrees, 30 minutes, north latitude, they drove a cedar post 
in the seashore at that point to mark the beginning of the line. 
They then began their westward course. It is not necessary 
to follow them in their long and difficult task as they cut their 
way through the tangled wilderness, plunged through noxious 
swamps, and ferried deep and sluggish rivers. The experience 
of the surveyors in the Great Dismal Swamp, was full of ad- 
venture, hardships and dangers that called for a high degree 
of intelligence, endurance, and dauntless courage. They were 
the first white men to pass through that vast wilderness of 
water and network of trees and vines, through which even the 
rays of the sun could not penetrate. The survey brought to 
light many interesting facts and revealed situations full of 
surprises not only to the commissioners but to the inhabitants 
along the line. The line, for instance, "cut through William 
Speight's Plantation, taking the Tobacco House into Carolina 
and leaving the Dwelling House in Virginia." Several other 
planters had similar experiences. The intersection of the line 
with Blackwater River was found to be a half-mile north of 
the mouth of Nottoway River "which agreed to half a minute 
with the observation made formerly by Mr. Lawson." Pro- 
ceeding according to instructions down the Blackwater to the 
Nottoway, the commissioners ran the line due west from their 
confluence. Having thus settled the most acute phase of the 


dispute, the commissioners, on April 5, "considering the great 
fatigue already undergone, and the danger of Rattle snakes 
in this advanced season, determined to proceed no further 
with the Line till the Fall." On September 25th, they re- 
sumed their work. Upon reaching the Hycootee River, a trib- 
utary of the Roanoke, in what is now Person County, 168 
miles from the starting point at Currituck Inlet, the Carolina 
commissioners resolved to proceed no farther saying that as 
the line then extended fifty miles beyond the remotest settle- 
ment and that many years would elapse before settlers would 
penetrate so far into the interior, it would involve needless 
trouble and expense to continue it. The Virginians protested 
against this step and announced their determination to pro- 
ceed alone until they should reach the foot of the mountains. 
This course the Carolina commissioners declared would be 
"irregular and invalid," contending that a line so run "would 
be no Boundary. ' ' Nevertheless the Virginians, showing more 
wisdom than their opponents, carried the line farther west- 
ward about seventy-two miles into the present county of 
Stokes. In all they ran it 211 miles from the beginning. 

On the whole the settlement was favorable to North Caro- 
lina. It vindicated her commissioners of 1709 from the se- 
vere strictures cast upon them by their Virginian colleagues, 
and showed that the Virginia commissioners of that year had 
been in error 21 1 /2 miles. "To the great surprise of all who 
had read the report of former [Virginia] Commissioners," 
wrote Lieutenant-Governor William Gooch of Virginia, an- 
nouncing the result to the Board of Trade, "it is now found 
that instead of gaining a large Tract of Land from North Car- 
olina, the line comes rather nearer to Virginia than that which 
Carolina has always allowed to be our bounds." The Caro- 
lina commissioners reported that "there was taken by the 
Line into Carolina a very great Quantity of Lands and Num- 
ber of Families that before had been under Verginia of which 
the time would not admit to take an Exact account but com- 
puted to be above One hundred Thousand acres and above 
Three hundred Tythables," i. e., above 1,200 inhabitants. The 
great gain to both provinces was in the removal of a cause of 
controversy, the quieting of titles to property, and the estab- 
lishment of the authority of government over a large number 
of persons who had taken advantage of the dispute to settle in 
a strip of territory "where the laws of neither Province could 
reach them." 

The result, of the survey was reported not to the Lords Pro- 


prietors but to officials of the Crown for when the survey was 
completed North Carolina had ceased to be a proprietary col- 
ony. This result had long been a foregone conclusion. For 
more than forty years crown officials and agents had carried 
on a propaganda against the proprietary colonies with the 
design of bringing them under the direct government of the 
Crown. The chief reason assigned for this policy was the 
failure of the proprietary governments to enforce the navi- 
gation laws, but other reasons were also given. It was charged 
that they had failed to accomplish "the chief design" for 
which they were established; that they enacted statutes "con- 
trary and repugnant to the Laws of England and directly 
prejudicial to Trade;" that they denied appeals from their 
courts to the king in Council; that they harbored smugglers 
and pirates ; that they debased their currency and by offering 
immigrants exemption from taxation, drew people from the 
crown colonies, thus "undermining the Trade and Welfare 
of the other Plantations;" that they promoted manufactures 
which were proper only to England ; that they neglected their 
defenses against attack by Indians and foreign enemies 
"which is every day more and more to be apprehended, con- 
sidering how the French power encreases in those parts;" 
and, finally, that all these evils arose from their misuse of 
the powers granted in their charters "and the Independency 
which they pretend to. ' ; Accordingly the Board of Trade 
recommended as the remedy for these evils that "the Char- 
ters of the severall Proprietors and others intitling them to 
absolute Government be reassumed by the Crown and these 
Colonies be put into the same State and dependency as those 
of your Majesties other Plantations." 

Such a result, however, could not be brought about by 
summary proceedings ; the consent of the Proprietors was 
necessary, but since the Proprietors did not seem inclined to 
give their consent voluntarily, the Crown determined upon a 
line of policy designed to compel compliance. Step by step it 
proceeded, always in the same direction, to loosen the hold of 
the Proprietors upon their possessions. As early as 1686 quo 
warranto proceedings were ordered to be instituted against 
them with the purpose of having their charter forfeited to the 
Crown. These proceedings failing, the Privy Council, in 
1689, recommended action by Parliament to bring the pro- 
prietary colonies "under a nearer. dependence on the Crown." 
In line with this recommendation Parliament, in 1696, passed 
an act requiring that the nominees of the Proprietors for 


governors of their colonies be approved by the Crown before 
assuming their duties, and, further, that they give bond to 
the Crown for the enforcement of the navigation and customs 
laws. To assure the punishment of violators of these laws, 
the Crown also proposed to appoint the attorneys-general 
of the proprietary colonies and to establish in them admiralty 
courts whose officials were to be appointed by the king. In 
1701, upon the recommendation of the Board of Trade, a bill 
was introduced in Parliament "for remitting to the Crown 
the Government of several [proprietary] colonies and 
Plantations in America;" and the surveyor-general of His 
Majesty's customs, Edmund Randolph, who had been the 
Crown's most active agent in securing data against the pro- 
prietaries, was instructed to appear at the Bar of the House 
of Lords in support of the measure. But "by reason of the 
shortness of time and multiplicity of other business" before 
Parliament, the bill failed of passage; the Board of Trade, 
however, announced that it would "again come under consid- 
eration the next Session of Parliament," and appealed to 
Governor Nicholson of Virginia for information "relating to 
the conduct of Proprietary Governours and Governments, 
more especially in relation to Carolina and the Ba- 
hama Islands," which could be used in support of the bill. 
For some reason not revealed the bill was not pressed. In 
1714, it was proposed to require the laws passed by the pro- 
prietary governments to be submitted to the Crown for ap- 
proval, but an inspection of their charters quickly con- 
vinced the king's advisers that this could not be done without 
an act of Parliament. Besides these official attacks, officials 
and agents of the Crown and of crown colonies poured forth a 
constantly flowing stream of abuse and misrepresentation of 
the proprietary colonies, all with the single purpose of wear- 
ing out the patience of the Proprietors and inducing them to 
surrender their charters. 

For nearly half a century the Lords Proprietors of Caro- 
lina resisted these encroachments of the Crown upon their 
chartered rights. When quo warranto proceedings were begun 
in 1686, Shaftesbury wrote: "I shall bee as unwilling to dis- 
pute his Ma[jes]ties pleasure as any man but this being a 
Publique Concerne tis not in any perticular man's power to 
dispose of it." The Lords Proprietors complained that they 
were given "no oppertunity to rectifie or clear some misin- 
formations" about their colonies laid before the king by 
Randolph and the Board of Trade, upon which the bills for 


forfeiting their charter had been based; and they protested 
against the appointment of the attorney-general and the erec- 
tion of admiralty courts by the Crown as violations of the 
terms of their charter. As time passed, however, they realized 
that they were waging a losing battle. In 1719 came the Revo- 
lution in South Carolina, and the ease with which the people 
overthrew their authority and the eagerness with which the 
Crown recognized the rebel government revealed the slight 
hold they had on their provinces. When they considered, too, 
' ' the number of the Proprietors, their disunion, the frequency 
of minorities amongst them, their Inability to procure to them- 
selves Justice from South Carolina with respect to their 
Quit Rents and their Want of Power to correct the great 
Abuses committed by the settlement about the Paper Money 
and other Publick acts to the Prejudice of the British Com- 
merce and an apprehension that in Case of an Invasion the 
Colony would be lost to the great detriment of the Publick as 
well as to themselves," they realized the wisdom of yielding 
to the inevitable. In January, 1728, accordingly, they united 
in a memorial to the Crown offering to surrender their char- 
ter. Negotiations were accordingly opened which resulted in 
all of the Lords Proprietors agreeing to surrender their politi- 
cal rights, and in seven of them agreeing to sell their prop- 
erty interests for £2,500 each. 1 In addition to the purchase 
price, the king consented to allow them £5000 for arrears of 
quit rents due them. The agreement was submitted to Parlia- 
ment which promptly passed an act embodying the terms of 
the sale. The conveyance was duly executed on July 25, 1729, 
the colony passed under the direct authority of the Crown, and 
the rule of the Lords Proprietors came to an end. 

The people of the colony heard the announcement of the 
transfer with great satisfaction. The Council at once pre- 
pared a memorial to the king in which they declared that it 

1 The shares were then held as follows: Clarendon's share by 
James Bertie of Middlesex; Albemarle's by Henry Somerset. Duke of 
Beaufort, and his minor brother Noell Somerset; Craven's by William 
Lord Craven; Lord Berkeley's by Joseph Blake of South Carolina; 
Ashley's by John Cotton, a minor, of the Middle Temple. London; 
Colleton's by Sir John Colleton of Devonshire; Sir William Berkeley's 
by Henry Bertie of Buck's Countv, or Mary Danson of Middlesex, or 
Elizabeth Moore of London, the title being: in litigation ; and Carteret's 
by John Lord Carteret, Baron of Hawes. afterwards Earl of Gran- 
ville. Carteret though surrendering all his rights of political control, 
refused to sell his share; accordingly, one-eighth of the original grant 
was reserved from the purchase and in 1744 was laid off for him 
wholly within North Carolina. 


was ''with the greatest Pleasure we Received the Notice of 
your Majesty's having taken this Government under your 
Immediate direction." Throughout the colony the change 
was celebrated with great rejoicings. At Edenton, wrote Gov- 
ernor Everard, "the utmost demonstrations of joy was shewn 
by all people in generall and the night concluded w th a Com- 
pleat illumination and Boon Fires and drinking his Maj 1 ^ 
health and all the Royall Familys long life." 

The people had cause for their joy. Crippled by the com- 
mercial policy of their powerful northern neighbor, neglected 
by the Lords Proprietors, antagonized by the Crown, what 
those early Carolinians had obtained they got through their 
own unassisted exertions and without favor from anybody. 
None of the English colonies had passed through a more des- 
perate struggle for existence. The geographical position of 
North Carolina was such as placed its commerce at the mercy 
of Virginia, and there was then, as Saunders observes, no 
Federal Constitution to prevent unneighborly legislation. 
The inefficient government of the Proprietors was unable to 
preserve either order or safety in the province, and was just 
strong enough to be a source of constant irritation. The Cul- 
pepper Rebellion, the Cary Rebellion, the Indian wars and 
the struggle with piracy severely tested the character and the 
capabilities of the people. Their situation, for instance, at 
the close of the Indian wars was almost desperate. Most of 
the people have "scarcely corn to last them until wheat time, 
many not having any at all;" "the community miserably 
reduced by Indian cruelty," and "the inhabitants brought to 
so low an ebb ' ' that large numbers fled the province ; ' ' our in- 
testine broils and contentions, to which all the misfortunes 
which have since attended us are owing;" "a country pre- 
served which everybody that was but the least acquainted with 
our circumstances gave over for lost" — these are typical ex- 
pressions with which the correspondence of the period 
abounds. That the colony survived these conditions is better 
evidence of the character and spirit of the people than the 
sneers and jibes of hostile critics, either contemporary or mod- 
ern. Had the greater part of the population of North Caro- 
lina, or even a considerable minority of it, been composed of 
"the shiftless people who could not make ;i place for them- 
selves in Virginia society," as William Byrd and John Fiske 
w^ould have us believe, all the aristocracy of Virginia and 
South Carolina combined could not have saved the colony from 
anarchy and ruin. Yet between the years 1663 and 1728 


somebody laid here in North Carolina the foundations of a 
great state. The foundation upon which great states are built 
is the character of their people, and the "mean whites" of 
Virginia are not now, nor were they then, the sort of people 
who found and build states. No colony composed to any extent 
of such a people could have rallied from such disasters as 
those from which North Carolina rallied between 1718 and 
1728. Those years were years of growth and expansion. The 
population increased threefold, the Cape Fear was opened to 
settlers, new plantations were cleared, better methods of hus- 
bandry introduced, mills erected, roads surveyed, ferries 
established, trade was increased, towns were incorporated, bet- 
ter houses built, better furniture installed, parishes created, 
churches erected, ministers supplied, the schoolmaster found 
his way thither, and the colony was fairly started on that 
course of development which brought it, by the outbreak of 
the Revolution, to the rank of fourth in population and impor- 
tance among the thirteen English-speaking colonies in 




The first three decades of royal rule in North Carolina 
were decades of growth and expansion. In 1730, the popula- 
tion was confined to the coastal plain and certainly did not ex- 
ceed 30,000; in 1760, it stretched all the way to the foot of 
the Blue Ridge Mountains and numbered probably not less 
than 130,000. Much of this growth was due to natural in- 
crease, for large families were characteristic of the people. 
Not only did the women marry young, but as Brickell takes 
pains to record they were "very fruitful, most Houses being 
full of Little Ones, and many Women from other Places who 
have been long Married and without Children, have removed 
to Carolina, and become joyful Mothers." 1 But much the 
greater portion of the increase was from immigration. From 
South Carolina on the south ; from Virginia, Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey on the north; from England, Scotland and 
Ireland; from the mountains of Switzerland and from the 
valleys of the Rhine and the Danube, thousands of hardy, en- 
terprising pioneers poured into North Carolina, filling up the 
unoccupied places in the older settlements, moving up the 
banks of the Roanoke, the Neuse, and the Cape Fear, and 
spreading out over the plains and through the valleys of 
the Piedmont section. 

Explanation of this extraordinary movement is to be 
found in a variety of causes, all of which acted and reacted 
upon each other. Land syndicates exploiting the mildness 
of the climate, the fertility of the soil, and the cheapness of 
the land, induced many immigrants to come. A spirit of 
adventure moved others. Hunters and trappers were at- 
tracted by the great variety and number of fur-bearing ani- 
mals in the West. A lofty missionary zeal to preach the 

1 Grimes, J. Bryan, (ed.) : The Natural History of North Caro- 
lina, by John Brickell, M. D. (Dublin, 1737), p. 31. 



Gospel of Christ to their scattered countrymen and to the 
savages of the wilderness inspired a choice few. Economic 
conditions in Scotland; economic and religious conditions in 
Ireland; economic, religious, and political conditions in Ger- 
many drove thousands from those countries to seek new 
homes on the Carolina frontier. To all these causes should 
be added the activity of the royal governors, Burrington, 
Johnston, and Dobbs, who showed a laudable zeal to make 
known to the people of the Old World the boundless resources 
of the New World. 

During the first decade, 1729-1739, most of the new set- 
tlers occupied lands in the section that had been settled dur- 
ing the proprietary period, i. e., the section north and east 
of Cape Fear River. Into this region immigrants came 
sIoavIv but steadily. In 1733, Burrington, the first royal 
governor, wrote : "The Reputation this Government has lately 
acquired, appears by the number of People that have come 
from other Places to live in it. Many of them are possessed 
of good American Estates. I do not exceed in saying a thou- 
sand white men have already settled in North Carolina, since 
my arrival [in 1731], and more are expected." Twenty fami- 
lies had cut their way through the forest to the head of navi- 
gation on the Tar River. A hundred families had planted a 
"thriving" settlement on New River. Others, singly and in 
groups, had penetrated into the interior as far as the North 
East River. A small colony of Scotch Highlanders had found 
homes on the upper Cape Fear. Such was the expansion of 
settlements, that by 1734 three new precincts were necessary 
for their convenience. In 1734, the General Assembly finding 
that New Hanover precinct had "become very populous," 
erected the New River settlements into a separate precinct 
called Onslow. Similarly the settlements on Tar and North 
East rivers were erected into Edgecombe and Bladen pre- 
cincts. At the close of his administration, Burrington esti- 
mated that there had been an increase in the population of 
more than 5,000 in five years. 

None of the new settlements had made such rapid progress 
as that which Burrington had done so much, when governor 
for the Lords Proprietors, to plant on the Cape Fear River. 
The first attempt to plant a settlement on Cape Fear River 
was made without success by some New England adventurers 
in 1660. Four years later a party of royalist refugees from 
Barbados established a colony near the mouth of the river, 
where, in 1665, they were joined by other Barbadians under 


Sir John Yeamans who had been appointed governor. The 
settlement, which contained a population of about 800 and ex- 
tended for several miles up the river, was erected into the 
county of Clarendon. Its prospects were not good and Gov- 
ernor Yeamans soon abandoned it, returned to Barbados, and 
later joined the colony which the Lords Proprietors had 
planted on the Ashley and Cooper rivers of which he was ap- 
pointed governor. The Lords Proprietors, who directed all 
their energies toward building up the rival settlement to the 
southward, took but little interest in the Cape Fear colony, 
and the settlers, after suffering many hardships, abandoned 
it in 1667. 

After the failure of the Clarendon colony, the Cape Fear 
region fell into disrepute and nearly fifty years passed be- 
fore a permanent settlement was planted there. Four causes 
contributing to this delay were the character of the coast at 
the mouth of the river, the pirates who sought refuge there 
in large numbers, the hostility of the Cape Fear Indians, and 
the closing of the Carolina land-office by the Lords Propri- 

The character of the coast, of course, could not be changed, 
but those who were interested in the development of the Cape 
Fear section employed pen and tongue to change the reputa- 
tion which its very name had forever fastened upon it. "It 
is by most traders in London believed that the coast of this 
country is very dangerous," wrote Governor Burrington, "but 
in reality [it is] not so. ' : The fact remains, however, that 
this sentence stands as a better testimonial of the governor's 
zeal than of his regard for truth. A different spirit inspired a 
later son 2 of the Cape Fear who, with something of an honest 
pride in the sturdy ruggedness and picturesque bleakness of 
that famous point, wrote thus eloquently of it: "Looking then 
to the cape for the idea and reason of its name, we find that 
it is the southernmost point of Smith's Island, a naked, bleak 
elbow of sand, jutting far out into the ocean. Immediately in 
its front are the Frying Pan Shoals pushing out still farther 
twenty miles to sea. Together they stand for warning and for 
woe; and together they catch the long majestic roll of the At- 
lantic as it sweeps through a thousand miles of grandeur and 
power from the Arctic towards the Gulf. It is the playground 
of billows and tempests, the kingdom of silence and awe, dis- 
turbed by no sound save the seagull's shriek and the breakers' 

George Davis. 

Vol. I— 10 


roar. Its whole aspect is suggestive not of repose and beauty, 
but of desolation and terror. Imagination cannot adorn it. 
Romance cannot hallow it. Local pride cannot soften it. 
There it stands today, bleak and threatening and pitiless, as 
it stood three hundred years ago, when Grenville and White 
came near unto death upon its sands. And there it will stand, 
bleak and threatening and pitiless, until the earth and sea 
give up their dead. And as its nature, so its name, is now, 
always has been, and always will be the Cape of Fear." 

But the very dangers that repelled settlers attracted pi- 
rates, and the Cape Fear became one of their chief strong- 
holds on our coast. As late as 1717, it was estimated that 
more than 1,500 pirates made their headquarters at New 
Providence and Cape Fear. Darting in and out of these har- 
bors of refuge for many years they preyed upon French, 
Spanish, British and American commerce with the utmost im- 
partiality and with impunity. The capture of Bonnet in 1718 
was the beginning of the end. The following day several other 
pirate vessels were taken off Cape Fear, and as a result of 
these captures a hundred freebooters were hanged at one time 
on the wharves of Charleston. When the Cape Fear ceased to 
be the refuge of crime it became the home of law and industry. 

The Cape Fear Indians "were reckoned the most barba- 
rous of any in the colony." Their hostility to the English 
was implacable. They made war on the Clarendon settlers 
which was one of the reasons for the failure of that colony. 
In 1711-13, they joined the Tuscarora; and two years later 
took an active part in the Yamassee War. Occupying an im- 
portant strategic position between the two colonies, they 
made cooperation between them difficult. In the summer of 
1715, they cut off a band of friendly Indians whom North Caro- 
lina was sending to the aid of South Carolina, but later were 
in turn defeated by the forces under Col. Maurice Moore. 
Their power, much weakened by the defeat of the Tuscarora 
on the north and of the Yamassee on the south, was finally de- 
stroyed in 1725, in the battle of Sugar Loaf, opposite the 
town of Brunswick, by a force under Roger Moore. 

But the struggles of the Carolina settlers with the forces 
of nature, the freebooters of the sea, and the savages of the 
wilderness would have availed nothing had they yielded 
obedience to the orders of the Lords Proprietors. In 1712, the 
Lords Proprietors resolved that no more grants should be 
issued in North Carolina, but such sales of land only as were 
made at their office in London were to be good ; and two years 


later, the governor and Council ordered that no surveys should 
be made within twenty miles of the Cape Fear River. But 
there were men in North Carolina who were not willing that 
a group of wealthy landowners beyond the sea should pre- 
vent their clearing and settling this inviting region, and about 
the year 1723 the ring of their axes began to break the long 
silence of the Cape Fear. They laid off their claims, cleared 
their fields, and built their cabins with utter disregard of the 
formalities of law. When Governor Burrington saw that they 
were determined to take up lands without either acquiring 
titles or paying rents, he decided that the interests of the Lords 
Proprietors would be served by his giving the one and receiv- 
ing the other. At his suggestion, therefore, the Assembly pe- 
titioned the governor and Council to reopen the land office in 
Carolina, and the governor and Council finding officially what 
they already knew personally that " sundry persons are al- 
ready seated on the vacant lands for which purchase money 
has not been paid nor any rents," granted the Assembly's 

Good titles thus assured settlers were not wanting. Con- 
spicuous among the leaders, were Governor Burrington and 
Col. Maurice Moore. Burrington 's claims to this credit were 
repeatedly asserted by himself and acknowledged by contem- 
poraries who bore him no love. The grand jury of the prov- 
ince, in 1731, bore testimony to the "very great expense and 
personal trouble" with which he "laid the foundation" of 
the Cape Fear settlement; while the General Assembly, in an 
address to the king declared that his "indefatigable industry 
and the hardships he underwent in carrying on the settlement 
of the Cape Fear deserve our thankful remembrance. ' : Such 
testimony to His Sacred Majesty was doubtless very flattering 
and duly appreciated, but Burrington evidently expected 
something more substantial, for he complained more than once 
that the only reward he ever received for his losses and hard- 
ships "was the thanks of a House of Burgesses." The first 
permanent settlement on the Cape Fear was made by Maurice 
Moore, who, while on his campaign against the Yamassee In- 
dians in 1715, had been attracted by the fertility of the lower 
Cape Fear region and determined to lead a settlement there. 
This plan he carried into execution sometime prior to the year 
1725, accompanied by his brothers, Nathaniel and Roger 
Moore. Burrington, in a letter to the Board of Trade in 1732, 
after he had broken with the popular party, refers to these 
men in the following passage: "About twenty families are 


settled at Cape Fear from South Carolina, among them three 
brothers of a noted family whose name is Moore. They are 
all of the set known there as the Goose Creek faction. These 
people were always troublesome in that government, and will, 
without doubt, be so in this. Already I have been told they 
will expend a great sum of money to get me turned out." Bur- 
rington's reference to their conduct in South Carolina is evi- 
dently to the fact that James Moore, their oldest brother, in 
1719, led the revolt in South Carolina against the Lords Pro- 
prietors and after its success was elected governor. A cen- 
tury and a quarter later, George Davis, himself an eminent 
son of the Cape Fear, paid the following tribute to Maurice 
and Eoger Moore: " These brothers," said he, "were not 
cast in the common mould of men. They were 'of the breed 
of noble bloods.' Of kingly descent, 3 and proud of their 
name which brave deeds had made illustrious, they dwelt upon 
their magnificent estates of Rocky Point and Orton, with 
much of the dignity, and something of the state of the ancient 
feudal barons, surrounded by their sons and kinsmen, who 
looked up to them for counsel, and were devoted to their will. 
Proud and stately, somewhat haughty and overbearing per- 
haps, but honorable, brave, high-minded and generous, they 
lived for many years the fathers of the Cape Fear, dispensing 
a noble hospitality to the worthy, and a terror to the mean and 
lawless. * They possessed the entire respect and con- 

fidence of all; and the early books of the register's office of 
New Hanover County are full of letters of attorney from all 
sorts of men, giving them an absolute discretion in managing 
the varied affairs of their many constituents." 

• Besides the Moores, conspicuous among the early settlers 
of the Cape Fear were the Moseleys, the Howes, the Porters, 
the Lillingtons, the Ashes, the Harnetts, and others whose 
names are closely identified with the history of North Caro- 
lina. Of them, Mr. Davis says: "They were no needy adven- 
turers, driven by necessity — no unlettered boors, ill at ease 
in the haunts of civilization, and seeking their proper sphere 
amidst the barbarism of the savages. They were gentlemen of 
birth and education, bred in the refinements of polished soci- 
ety, and bringing with them ample fortunes, gentle manners, 
and cultivated minds. Most of them united by the ties of 
blood, and all by those of friendship, they came as one house- 
hold, sufficient unto themselves, and reared their family altars 

3 This is a reference to the tradition that the Moores were de- 
scendants of the ancient kinss of Leix. 


in love and peace. " 4 After these leaders had cleared the way, 
they were joined by numerous other families from the Albe- 
marle, from Barbados, and other islands of the West Indies, 
from New England, from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, 
and Maryland, and from Europe. 

The oldest grant for land on the Cape Fear now extant, is 
one to Maurice Moore for 1,500 acres on the west bank of the 
river, dated June 3, 1725. From this grant Maurice Moore, in 
1725, laid off, fourteen miles above the mouth of the river, a 
tract of 320 acres as a site for a town, and his brother Roger, 
"to make the said town more regular, added another parcel of 
land. ' ' To encourage the growth of the town, Maurice Moore 
donated sites for a church and graveyard, a courthouse, a 
market-house and other public buildings, and a commons "for 
the use of the inhabitants of the town." The town was laid 
off into building lots of one-half acre each to be sold only to 
those who would agree to erect on their lots, substantial 
houses. Moore then made a bid for royal favor by naming his 
town Brunswick in honor of the reigning family. But the 
career of Brunswick did not commend it to the favor of 
crowned heads or their representatives ; it never became more 
than a frontier village, and in the course of a few years, during 
which, however, it played an important part in the history of 
the province, it yielded with no good grace to a younger and 
more vigorous rival sixteen miles farther up the river, which 
was named in honor of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wil- 

The settlement grew rapidly. Writing from the Cape 
Fear in 1734, Governor Johnston said: "The inhabitants 
of the southern part of this government, particularly of 
the two branches of this large river, * are a very 

sober and industrious set of people and have made an 
amazing progress in their improvement since their first 
settlement, which was about eight years ago.' : Large tracts 
of forest land had been converted into beautiful meadows and 
cultivated plantations; comfortable, if not elegant, houses 
dotted the river banks ; and two towns had sprung into exist- 
ence. The forest offered tribute to the lumberman and tur- 
pentine distiller; a number of saw mills had been erected 
while some of the planters were employing their slaves chiefly 
in "making tar and pitch." A brisk trade in lumber, naval 
stores, and farm products had been established with the other 

4 University Address in 1855. 


colonies, the West Indies, and even with the mother country, 
and before the close of the decade the governor was able to 
declare that the Cape Fear had become "the place of the 
greatest trade in the whole province." The collector's books 
at Brunswick showed that during the year 1734 forty-two 
vessels cleared from that port. At that time the population 
of the Cape Pear settlement numbered about 1,200; by 1740 
it had increased to 3,000. 

Life on the Cape Fear was seen at its best not in the towns 
but on the estates of the planters scattered along the banks 
of the river and its branches. In the immediate vicinity of 
Brunswick the most celebrated were, Orton, the finest colonial 
residence now standing in North Carolina, where lived and 
reigned "Old King" Roger Moore, "the chief gentleman in 
all Cape Fear"; Kendal, the home of "Old King" Roger's 
son, George, whose wives, "with remarkable fidelity and 
amazing fortitude, presented him every spring with a new 
baby, until the number reached twenty-eight ; ' ' 5 and Lilliput, 
adjoining Kendal, first the residence of Chief Justice Eleazer 
Allen, and later of Sir Thomas Frankland, the great-grandson 
of Oliver Cromwell. Farther up the river came then and later 
a succession of celebrated plantations. Forty miles above 
Brunswick on the east bank of North East River stood Lilling- 
ton Hall, the home of Alexander Lillington, who led the Cape 
Fear militia at Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776. On the oppo- 
site bank were Stag Park, the Cape Fear estate of Governor 
Bnrrington: the Neck and Green Hill, the residences of Gov- 
ernor Samuel Ashe and General John Ashe; Moseley Hall, 
where lived Sampson Moseley, afterwards a delegate to the 
famous Halifax convention of 1776; and Rocky Point, the 
estate of Maurice Moore, described by an English visitor in 
1734 as "the finest place in all Cape Fear." Across the 
river farther down came a series of places, the most historic 
of which were Castle Haynes, owned by Hugh Waddell, who 
is buried there, and the Hermitage, owned by John Burgwin, 
for many years clerk of the Council and private secretary to 
the governor, which was one of the most celebrated homes in 
the Cape Fear country for a hundred years. "The great ma- 
jority of these residences were wooden structures, some of 
them being large, with wide halls and piazzas, but without any 
pretence to architectural beauty, and some being one story 

s Sprunt, James : Tales and Traditions of the Lower Cape Fear, 
p. 58. 





buildings, spread out over a considerable space. A few were 
of brick, but none of stone, as there was no building stone 
within a hundred miles; but all, whether of brick or wood, 
were comfortable and the seats of unbounded hospitality." 6 
Perhaps the best picture of the Cape Fear settlement at the 
close of its first decade is a pamphlet written and published 
in London by an English visitor who arrived at Orton in the 
afternoon of June 16, 1734. After four pleasant days with 
"Old King" Roger, his party set out on their trip up the river 
under the guidance of Nathaniel Moore. The first day's trip 
carried them past "several pretty plantations on both sides" 
of the river, which they found "wonderfully pleasant" and 
the following morning brought them "to a beautiful planta- 
tion, belonging to Captain Gabriel [Gabourell], who is a great 
merchant there, where were two ships, two sloops, and a brig- 
antine, loading with lumber." The night was agreeably 
passed at "another plantation belonging to Mr. Roger Moore, 
called Blue Banks, where he is going to build another very 
large brick house.' 1 The visitors were astonished at the fer- 
tility of the soil. "I am credibly informed," declared their 
chronicler, "they have very commonly four-score bushels of 
corn on an acre of their overflowed land. I must con- 

fess I saw the finest corn growing there that I ever saw in my 
life, as likewise wheat and hemp." That night, they "met 
with good entertainment" at the home of Captain Gibbs, whose 
plantation adjoined Blue Banks; and the next day dined with 
Jehu Davis, whose house was "built after the Dutch fashion, 
and made to front both ways, on the river and on the land." 
The visitors were delighted with the "beautiful avenue cut 
through the woods for above two miles, which is a great addi- 
tion to the house." They left Davis's house in the afternoon 
and the same evening reached Nathaniel Moore's plantation, 
which was "a very pleasant place on a bluff upwards of sixty 
feet high." Three days after their arrival, "there came a 
sloop of one hundred tons, and upwards, from South Caro- 
lina, to be laden with corn, which is sixty miles at least from 
the bar. * * * There are people settled at least forty 
miles higher up," that is, in what is now Cumberland 
County. The visitor's last experience in the Cape Fear sec- 
tion was such a one as was calculated to leave with him a 
bitter prejudice against the country and its people, but for- 
tunately his mind, recalling the hospitality which he had just 

6 Waddell. A. M. : Historic Homes in the Cape Fear Country. 
(North Carolina Booklet, Vol. II, No. 9, p. 20.) 


been enjoying, rose superior to such a feeling. Reaching 
Brunswick about eight o'clock in the morning of August 11th, 
on his departure from the colony, he says: "I set out from 
thence about nine, and about four miles from thence met my 
landlord of Lockwood Folly, who was in hopes I would stay 
at his house that night. About two I arrived there with much 
difficulty, it being a very hot day and myself very faint and 
weak, when I called for a dram, and to my great sorrow found 
not one drop of rum, sugar or lime juice in the house (a pretty 
place to stay all night indeed) which made me re- 

solve never to trust the country again on a long journey." 7 
Returning to Brunswick from his trip up the river, the 
English visitor "lay that first night at Newtown, in a small 
hut." With this slight mention he dismisses the place from 
his narrative, but had he returned twenty years later he would 
doubtless have given it as much as a paragraph in a revised 
edition. Today a visitor describing the Cape Fear section 
might possibly mention Brunswick for its historic interest, 
but Newtown, though masquerading under another name, 
would form the burden of his story. The former, in spite of 
its name, was not popular with the royal governors who threw 
their influence to the latter, and the rise of Newtown was fol- 
lowed by the decline of Brunswick. Newtown was laid off 
just below the confluence of the two branches of Cape Fear 
River. It consisted originally of two cross streets called Front 
and Market, names which they still bear, while the town itself 
for lack of a better name was called Newtown. From the first 
Brunswick regarded Newtown as an upstart to be suppressed 
rather than encouraged. Rivalry originating in commercial 
competition was soon intensified by a struggle for political 
supremacy. The chief factor in this struggle was Gabriel 
Johnston, who, in 1734, succeeded George Burrington as gov- 
ernor. The new governor became one of the most ardent 
champions of Newtown and used not only his personal in- 
fluence but also his official authority to make it the social, 
commercial and political center of the rapidly growing prov- 
ince. Encouraged by his favor, Newtown in March, 1735, 
petitioned the governor and Council for a charter, but the 
prayer was refused because it required an act of the Assembly 
to incorporate a town. To the Assembly, therefore, Newtown 
appealed and as a compliment to the governor asked for incor- 
poration under the name of Wilmington, in honor of John- 

7 Georgia Historical Collections; Vol. II, p. 59. 


ston's friend and patron, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilming- 
ton, afterwards prime minister of England. The granting of 
this petition meant death to all the hopes of Brunswick. By 
it Brunswick would be compelled to surrender to Wilmington 
the courthouse and jail, the county court, the offices of the 
county officials, the office of the collector of the port, and the 
election of assemblymen, vestrymen and other public officials. 
Brunswick, therefore, stoutly opposed the pretentions of Wil- 
mington and kept up a bitter struggle against them for four 
years. The end came in the Assembly of February of 1739. 
Apparently no contest was made in the lower house, for 
Brunswick evidently looked to the Council for victory. The 
Council was composed of eight members, four of whom were 
certainly of the Brunswick party. Accordingly when the Wil- 
mington bill came before the Council four voted for, and four 
against it. Then to the consternation of the Brunswickers, 
the president declared that as president he had the right to 
break the tie which his vote as a member had made, and in 
face of violent opposition, cast his vote a second time in the 
affirmative. The Brunswick party entered vigorous protests, 
but they availed nothing with the governor, who, in the pres- 
ence of both houses of the Assembly, gave his assent to the 

Brunswick did not accept defeat gracefully, nor did Wil- 
mington bear the honors of victory magnanimously. The feel- 
ings aroused by the long struggle and the manner in which 
it was finally brought to a close strained their commercial and 
political relations and embittered their social and religious 
intercourse for many years. This hostility made it necessary 
to divide the- county into two parishes — St. James, embracing 
the territory on the east side of the river, and St. Phillips, em- 
bracing that on the west side. But this division did not help 
matters much at first, as there was only one minister, and he 
does not seem to have had the inexhaustible amount of tact 
that was necessary to deal with the situation. Says he: "A 
missionary in this river has a most difficult part to act, for by 
obliging one of the towns, he must of course disoblige the 
other, each of them opposing the other to the utmost of their 
power. Notwithstanding the majority of the present vestry at 
Wilmington are professed dissenters and endeavored by all 
ways and means to provoke me to leave that place, yet they 
cannot endure my settlement at Brunswick. While I was 
their minister they were offended at my officiating frequently 
among them." But Brunswick struggled in vain against the 



Wilmington tide. Nature had given to Wilmington a better 
and safer harbor, and this was an ally which Brunswick could 
not overcome. Besides far more important matters than the 
supremacy of one straggling village over another soon claimed 
their united consideration, and they found that factional quar- 
rels and jealousies would result only in injury to both. After 
a short time, therefore, when the actors in the early struggle 
were all dead, when their animosities had been mellowed by 
time, and when danger from a common enemy threatened the 
welfare of both, their differences were buried and forgotten, 
and the two towns stood side by side in the struggle for inde- 
pendence. This union was never broken, for the ties formed 
during those days of peril proved stronger than ever their 
differences had been, and Brunswick abandoning the old site 
united fortunes with Wilmington. 

The people whom the English visitor found on the lower 
Cape Fear in 1734, were mostly of English origin, but had he 
continued his voyage up the river as far as the head of navi- 
gation, he would have found a small settlement lately made by 
representatives of another race destined to play no small part 
in the history of North Carolina. These settlers were the 
vanguard of that army of Scotch Highlanders which began 
to pour into North Carolina about the middle of the eighteenth 
century, as the result of political and economic conditions in 
Scotland. In 1746 occurred the last of those periodical efforts 
of the Highland clans to restore the Stuarts to the thrones 
of Scotland and England, which ended in disaster at Culloden. 
Thereupon, exasperated at these repeated rebellions, the Brit- 
ish government determined upon a course of great severity 
toward the clans. To overthrow the clan system which fos- 
tered this rebellious spirit, the government abolished the 
authority of the chiefs, confiscated their estates, and under 
heavy penalties forbade the Highlanders to carry arms and 
to wear the costumes of their clans. The estates of the High- 
land chiefs were distributed among the British soldiers who, 
of course, felt none of those natural ties that held chief and 
clansmen together and cared nothing for the fate of Highland 
rebels. These new landlords soon introduced a new economic 
factor in the Highlands. Finding sheep-raising more profit- 
able than farming, they turned thousands of acres which be- 
fore had been under cultivation into pasture lands, thus 
depriving large numbers of people of their homesteads. This 
complete overthrow of their social and economic systems left 


the people helpless. Kents increased, hundreds of families 
lost their means of livelihood, and distress became universal. 

To enforce these harsh measures, an English army under 
the Duke of Cumberland, afterwards known in Highland his- 
tory as ''Butcher Cumberland," established headquarters at 
Inverness, and from that base fell upon the inhabitants and 
laid waste their country in every direction. Their cattle were 
driven away or slaughtered; the mansions of the chiefs and 
the huts of the clansmen were laid in ashes; captured High- 
land soldiers were put to death with brutal ferocity; women 
and children, without food, without homes, without husbands 
and fathers, wandered helplessly among the hills and valleys 
to die of hunger, cold and want. It became the boast of the 
English soldiery that neither house nor cottage, man nor 
beast could be found within fifty miles of Inverness ; all was 
silence, ruin, and desolation. 

One ray of light penetrated the darkness. After Culloden, 
the king offered a pardon to all Highland rebels who would 
take the oath of allegiance and emigrate to America. Many 
clansmen hastened to avail themselves of this act of clemency 
and to the ruined Highlanders America became a haven of 
refuge. Of all the American colonies North Carolina was 
perhaps the best known in the Highlands. A few Highlanders 
had made their way to the upper Cape Fear as early as 1729. 
Here they found a genial climate, a fertile soil, and a mild and 
liberal government, and they filled their letters to their friends 
and relatives in Scotland with praise of the new country. An- 
other influence was introduced in 1734, when Gabriel Johnston, 
a Scotchman from Dundee, was sent to North Carolina as 
governor. Johnston is said to have been inordinately fond of 
his fellow-countrymen, his enemies even charging that he 
showed favor to Scotch rebels and manifested a woful lack 
of enthusiasm over the news of "the glorious victory at Cullo- 
den.' 1 Be that as it may, he certainly took a praiseworthy 
interest in spreading the fame of North Carolina in the High- 
lands and was successful in inducing Scotchmen to seek homes 
in the colony. In the summer of 1739, Neill McNeill, of Kin- 
tyre, Scotland, sailed for North Carolina bringing with him a 
"shipload" of 350 Highlanders who arrived in the Cape Fear 
River in September of that year. They landed at "Wilmington 
where, it is said, their peculiar costumes and outlandish lan- 
guage so frightened the town officials that they attempted to 
make the strangers give bond to keep the peace. This indig- 
nity McNeill managed to avoid, and taking his countrymen 


up the river found for them a hearty welcome among the High- 
landers there. At the next session of the Assembly, a memo- 
rial was presented in behalf of these new settlers, accompanied 
by a statement, "if proper encouragement be given them, that 
they'll invite the rest of their friends and acquaintances over.' : 
The General Assembly hastened to take advantage of this 
opportunity, exempting the new settlers from all taxation for 
ten years. A similar exemption "from payment of any Pub- 
lick or County tax for Ten years" was offered to all High- 
landers who should come to North Carolina in groups of forty 
or more, and the governor was requested "to use his Interest, 
in such manner, as he shall think most proper, to obtain an 
Instruction for giveing encouragement to Protestants from 
foreign parts, to settle in Townships within this Province." 
On the heels of this action came the disaster of Culloden, the 
rise in rents, ami the harsh enactments of the British Parlia- 
ment ; and the liberal offers of the North Carolina Assembly, 
together with the active exertions of the Highlanders already 
in the colony, produced in Scotland ' ' a Carolina mania which 
was not broken until the beginning of the Revolution. The 
flame of enthusiasm passed like wildfire through the Highland 
glens and Western Isles. It pervaded all classes, from the 
poorest crofter to the well-to-do farmer, and even men of easy 
competence, who were according to the appropriate song of 
the day 

'Dol a ah 'iarruidh an fhortain do North Carolina:' " 8 
Shipload after shipload of sturdy Highland settlers sailed for 
the shores of America, and most of them landing at Charles- 
ton and Wilmington found their way to their kinsmen on the 
Cape Fear. In a few years their settlements were thickly 
scattered throughout the territory now embraced in the coun- 
ties of Anson, Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Moore, Rich- 
mond, Robeson, Sampson, Hoke, and Scotland. With a keen 
appreciation of its commercial advantages, they selected a 
point of land at the head of navigation on Cape Fear River 
where they laid out a town, first called Campbellton, then 
Cross Creek, and finally Fayetteville. 

The Highlanders continued to pour into North Carolina 
right up to the outbreak of the Revolution, but as no official 
records of their number were kept it is impossible to say how 
numerous they were. Perhaps, however, from reports in 
letters, periodicals, and other contemporaneous documents an 

s "Going to seek a fortune in North Carolina." MacLean, J. P. 
The Highlanders in America, p. 108. 


estimate mav be made with some degree of accuracy. In 1736, 
Alexander Clark, a native of Jura, one of the Hebrides, sailed 
for North Carolina with a "shipload" of Highlanders, and 
settled on Cape Fear River where he found "a good many 
Scotch." Three years later, as we have seen, McNeill brought 
over a colony of 350 Highlanders. But the real immigration 
did not set in until after the battle of Culloden. Seven years 
after that event, colonial officials estimated that there were in 
Bladen County alone 1,000 Highlanders capable of bearing 
arms, from which it is reasonable to infer that the total popu- 
lation was not less than 5,000. The Scot's Magazine, in Sep- 
tember, 1769, records that the ship Molly had recently sailed 
from Islay filled with passengers for North Carolina, and that 
this was the third emigration from that county within six 
years. The same journal in a later issue tells us that between 
April and July, 1770, fifty-four vessels sailed from the West- 
ern Isles laden with 1,200 Highlanders all bound for North 
Carolina. In 1771, the Scot's Magazine stated that 500 emi- 
grants from Islay and the adjacent islands were preparing 
to sail for America, and later in the same vear Governor 
Tryon wrote that "several ship loads of Scotch families" had 
"landed in this province within three years past from the 
Isles of Arran, Durah, Islay, and Gigah, but chief of them 
from Argvle Shire and are mostly settled in Cumberland 
County." Their number he estimated "at 1,600 men, women, 
and children." A year later the ship Adventure brought a 
cargo of 200. emigrants from the Highlands to the Cape Fear, 
and in March of the same year Governor Martin wrote to Lord 
Hillsborough, secretary of state for the colonies: "Near a 
thousand people have arrived in Cape Fear River from the 
Scottish Isles since the month of November with a view to 
settling in this province whose prosperity and strength will 
receive great augmentation by the accession of such a number 
of hardy, laborious and thrifty people." In its issue of April 
3, 1773, the Courant, another Scottish journal, reports that 
"the unlucky spirit of emigration" had not diminished, and 
that many of the inhabitants of Skye, Lewis and other places 
were arranging to sail for America in the following summer. 
In subsequent issues, during the same year, that journal 
records that in June between 700 and 800 emigrants sailed for 
America from Stornoway; in July, 800 from Skye and 840 
from Lewis ; in August, another 150 from Lewis ; in Septem- 
ber, 250 from Sutherlandshire and 425 from Knoydart, Locha- 


bar, Appin, Mamore, and Fort William; and in October, 775 
from Moray, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness. 

The Highlanders continued to come even after the Revo- 
lution was well under way. In June, 1775, the Gentleman's 
Magazine records that "four vessels, containing about 700 
emigrants," had sailed for America from Glasgow and Green- 
ock, "most of them from the north Highlands." In Septem- 
ber of the same year, the ship Jupiter, with 200 emigrants on 
board, "chiefly from Argyleshire" sailed for North Carolina, 
and as late as October, 1775, Governor Martin notes the ar- 
rival at Wilmington of a shipload of 172 Highlanders. From 
1769 to 1775, the Scotch journals mention as many as sixteen 
different emigrations from the Highlands, besides "several 
others." Not all of these emigrants came to North Carolina. 
Georgia, New York, Canada, and other colonies received a 
small share, but "the earliest, largest and most important 
settlement of Highlanders in America, prior to the Peace of 
1783, was in North Carolina along Cape Fear River. " 9 In 
1775 Governor Martin wrote that he could raise an army of 
3,000 Highlanders, from which it is a reasonable conclusion 
that at that time the Highland population of North Carolina 
was not less than 20,000. Several of the clans were repre- 
sented, but at the outbreak of the Revolution the MaeDonakls 
so largely predominated in numbers and in leadership that the 
campaign of 1776, which ended at Moore 's Creek Bridge, was 
often spoken of at the time as the "insurrection of the Clan 
MacDonald. ' ' 

Though unfortunate economic conditions lay behind this 
Highland emigration, it is not therefore to be supposed that 
the emigrants belonged to an improvident and thriftless class. 
They were, in fact, among the most substantial and energetic 
people of Scotland and they left the land of their nativity be- 
cause it did not offer them an outlet for their activities. 
"The late great rise of the rents in the Western Islands of 
Scotland," said Scot's Magazine in 1771, "is said to be the 
reason of this emigration." "The cause of this emigration," 
the same journal repeats in 1772, "they [the emigrants] as- 
sign to be want of the means of livelihood at home, through 
the opulent graziers engrossing the farms, and turning them 
into pastures." Some of the landlords became alarmed and 
offered better terms to tenants, but the offer came too late to 
check the movement. Governor Tryon says that many of them 
were skilled mechanics who "were particularly encouraged to 

9 MacLean : The Highlanders in America, p. 102. 


settle here by their countrymen who have been settled many 
years in this province;" and Governor Martin, in the letter 
quoted above, describes them as a "hardy, laborious, and 
thrifty people. ,: Nor should it be supposed that they arrived 
in Carolina empty-handed. The Scot's Magazine in 1771 tells 
us that a band of five hundred of these emigrants had recently 
sailed for America "under the conduct of a gentleman of 
wealth and merit, whose ancestors had resided in Islay for 
many centuries past." Another colony, according to the same 
journal, was composed of "the most wealthy and substantial 
people in Skye" who "intend to make purchases of land in 
America"; while the Courant, in 1773, declared that five hun- 
dred emigrants who had just sailed were "the finest set of 
fellows in the Highlands," and carried with them "at least 
£(yX)0 sterling in ready cash." From the single county of 
Sutherland, in 1 772 and 1773, about fifteen hundred emigrants 
sailed for America, who, according to the Courant carried 
with them an average of £4 sterling to the man. "This," 
comments that journal, "amounts to £7,500 which exceeds a 
year's rent of the whole county." It is not easy to arrive at 
any satisfactory conclusion as to the financial condition of 
the Highlanders after their arrival in North Carolina. On 
the whole they were poor when compared with their English 
neighbors, but their condition was undoubtedly a great im- 
provement over what it had been in Scotland. 

From governors and Assembly the Highlanders received 
numerous evidences of welcome to their adopted country. 
The governor commissioned several of their leaders justices 
of the peace. In 1740 the Assembly exempted them from taxa- 
tion for ten years, and offered a similar exemption to all who 
should follow them. For the convenience of the new settlers, 
the region around Campbellton was erected into a county 
which, with curious irony, was named in honor of "Butcher 
Cumberland. ' ' The first sheriff of the new county was Hector 
McNeill, but the services of a sheriff seem to have been so 
little in demand that his fees for the whole year amounted to 
only ten pounds. Another important event in the development 
of the Highland settlements, was the passage by the Assembly 
of an act for the building of a road from the Dan River on 
the Virginia line through the heart of the province to Cross 
Creek on the Cape Fear, and another leading to it from Shal- 
low Ford on the Yadkin. These roads threw the trade of all 
the back country into Cross Creek which soon became one of 
the chief towns of the province. 


The Highlanders desired to reproduce in Carolina the life 
they had lived in Scotland, but changed conditions, as they 
soon found, made this impossible. True no law made it 
illegal for the clans to maintain their tribal organizations, or 
forbade the chiefs to exercise their hereditary authority, or 
made it a crime for the clansmen to bear arms or wear tar- 
tans. But as the basis of the clan system was military neces- 
sity, in the absence of such necessity the system could not 
flourish. In Scotland the clansmen had obeyed their chief 
in return for his protection against hostile neighbors ; in Caro- 
lina there were no hostile neighbors, law reigned supreme, 
and under its benign sway the humblest clansman was assured 
of far more effective protection of life and property than the 
most powerful chief in the Highlands could possibly have 
given him. As soon as the clan system became unnecessary 
it became irksome and irritating, and rapidly disappeared. 
With its passing passed also the meaning, and therefore, the 
usefulness, of the Highland costume, which was soon laid 
aside for the less picturesque but more serviceable dress of 
their English fellow countrymen. Their language was des- 
tined to a similar fate. When preaching in English to the 
Highlanders at Cross Creek in 1756, Hugh McAden found that 
many of them ' ' scarcely knew one word ' ' he spoke. The Gaelic 
made a brave struggle against the English, but a vain and use- 
less one. Entrenched in an impregnable stronghold as the lan- 
guage of all legal, social, political and commercial transac- 
tions, the English tongue effected an easy conquest, and the 
Gaelic soon disappeared as a common medium of expression. 
Under these circumstances the peculiar institutions and cus- 
toms of the Highlanders gave way before those of their 
adopted country, and after the second generation had fol- 
lowed their fathers to the grave nothing remained to distin- 
guish their descendants from their English neighbors save 
only their Highland names. 

Vol. I— 11 


While the Highlanders were moving up the Cape Fear 
River, two other streams of population were flowing into the 
province and spreading out over the plains and valleys of the 
Piedmont section. Though flowing side by side, they origi- 
nated in widely separated sources and throughout their 
courses kept entirely distinct one from the other. One was 
composed of immigrants of Scotch-Irish, the other of immi- 
grants of German descent. 

The term Scotch-Irish is a misnomer, and does not, as one 
would naturally suppose, signify a mixed race of Scotch and 
Irish ancestry. It is a geographical, not a racial term. The 
so-called Scotch-Irish were in reality Scotch people, or de- 
scendants of Scotch people who once resided in Ireland. Into 
Ireland they came as invaders and lived as conquerors, hated 
as such by the Irish and feeling for the Irish that contempt 
which conquerors always feel for subjugated races. From 
one generation to another the two peoples dwelt side by side, 
separated by an immense chasm of religious, political, social, 
and racial hostility, each intent upon preserving its blood 
pure and uncontaminated by any mixture with the other. 
Thus the Scotch in Ireland remained Scotch, and the term 
" Irish" as applied to them is merely a geographical term used 
to distinguish the Scotch immigrants who came to America 
from Ireland from those who came hither directly from Scot- 
land. In fact the term ''Scotch-Irish" is American in its 
origin and use, and has never been known in Ireland, where 
the descendants of the Scotch settlers are distinguished from 
the Irish proper by the far more significant terms of "Irish 
Protestants" and "Irish Presbyterians." Another name, 
"Ulstermen," often applied to them, especially within recent 
years, is derived from the province in which they are chiefly 

The ancestors of these people came originally from the 



Lowlands of Scotland, and were introduced into Ireland by 
James I in pursuance of his policy of displacing the native 
Irish, always so bitterly hostile to the British Crown, with a 
new people upon whose loyalty the government could depend. 
For the success of his plan he needed a people whose aversion 
to the Irish and to their religion would operate as a barrier 
to any intermingling of the two races. Of all his subjects, 
the Scotch Presbyterians of the Western Lowlands were best 
suited for his purpose. Possessed of intense racial pride, 
they would not intermarry with the Irish. The most uncom- 
promising of Protestants, they would resist to the uttermost 
the attacks of Catholicism. Tenacious of their property 
rights which they would owe to the generosity of the king, 
they would maintain and defend his Crown at all hazards. 
Accordingly, having confiscated the Irish estates in Ulster, 
in 1610, James brought from Scotland a colony of Lowlanders 
whom he settled upon them. This was the beginning of a great 
migration from Scotland to Ireland. During the decade from 
1610 to 1620, 40,000 Scotch Presbyterians were thus settled 
in Ulster. They were among the most industrious, thrifty 
and intelligent people in the world. In Ulster they drained 
the swamps, felled the forests, sowed wheat and flax, raised 
cattle and sheep, and began the manufacture of linen and 
woolen cloth which they were soon exporting to England. 
As Greene says: "In its material result the Plantation of 
Ulster was undoubtedly a brilliant success. Farms and home- 
steads, churches and mills, rose fast amid the desolate wilds 
of Tyrone. * * * The foundations of the economic pros- 
perity which has raised Ulster high above the rest of Ireland 
in wealth and intelligence were undoubtedly laid in the con- 
fiscation of 1610." J 

From Ireland descendants of these Scotch settlers came 
to America. Anomalous as it may seem, it is nevertheless 
true that the immediate causes of this second emigration 
arose out of the fact that the Scotch settlement in Ireland had 
succeeded too well. Planted there in 1610 to develop the 
country industrially and establish a strong Protestant civili- 
zation, a century later the success of their industrial enter- 
prises was the envy of their competitors in England, while 
the tenacity with which they held to their religious convic- 
tions srave offense to the bishops and elor<rv of the Established 
Church. Bv the close of the seventeenth century, the linen 

1 A Short History of the English People. Revised Edition, p. 458. 


and woolen manufactures of Belfast, Londonderry, and other 
cities of Ulster had grown so prosperous that English manu- 
facturers complained of the competition, and at their solici- 
tation, the British Parliament passed a series of acts that 
greatly restricted the output of the Irish factories and placed 
them at the mercy of their English rivals. About the same 
time, the High Church party in England secured the passage 
of laws making it illegal for Presbyterians in Ireland to hold 
office, to practice law, to teach school, and to exercise many 
of their other civil and religious rights. "All over Ulster 
there was an outburst of Episcopalian tyranny." 

In these two sources, one economic, the other religious, 
originated the Scotch-Irish emigration to America. During 
the fifty years preceding the American Eevolution thou- 
sands of thrifty Protestants left Ireland never to return. In 
1718 there was mention of "both ministers and people going 
off. ' : In 172S, Archbishop Boulter, Primate of Ireland, stated 
that above 4,200 had sailed within the past three years. In 
1740, a famine in Lister "gave an immense impulse" to emi- 
gration, and during the next several years the annual flow to 
America was estimated at 12,000. During the three years, 1771 
to 1773, emigration from Ulster is estimated at 30,000, of 
whom 10,000 were weavers. This movement, says Froude, 
' ' robbed Ireland of the bravest defenders of the English inter- 
ests, and peopled the American seaboard with fresh flights of 
Puritans. Twenty thousand left Ulster on the destruction of 
the woolen trade. Many more were driven away by the first 
passing of the Test Act. Men of spirit and energy 

refused to remain in a country where they were held unfit 
to receive the rights of citizens; and thenceforward, until 
the spell of tyranny was broken in 1782, annual shiploads of 
families poured themselves out from Belfast and London- 
derry. The resentment which they carried with them con- 
tinued to burn in their new homes; and, in the War of Inde- 
pendence, England had no fiercer enemies than the grandsons 
and great-grandsons of the Presbyterians who had held UJlster 
against Tyrconnell." 2 

Occasional settlers of Lowland Scotch and Scotch-Irish 
descent were found in North Carolina at a very early date. 
In 1676, William Edmundson, the Quaker missionary, re- 
cords his visit to James Hall, who with his family "went 
from Ireland into Virginia," whence he removed into North 

- The English in Ireland. Vol. 1. p. 392. 


Carolina. John Urmstone, the missionary of the Church of 
England, in 1714, lists among his numerous grievances the 
fact that three of his vestrymen were "vehement Scotchmen 
Presbyterians." The Pollock family was of Lowland stock, 
and while Thomas Pollock himself came to North Carolina, 
some of his brothers emigrated to the North of Ireland. But 
one must be careful not to make too much of the presence of 
these pioneers of the Lowland Scotch and Scotch-Irish in 
North Carolina. They were simply isolated instances of indi- 
viduals of an adventurous spirit who broke away from their 
home ties to seek their fortunes in a new land, and cannot be 
considered as a part of the great Scotch-Irish immigration 
of the eighteenth century. 

The first of these settlers who came to North Carolina as 
an organized group were brought into the province by land 
companies. In 1735 Arthur Dobbs and "some other Gentle- 
men of Distinction in Ireland," associated with Henry Mc- 
Culloh, a London merchant, presented a memorial to the 
Council of North Carolina "representing their intention of 
sending over to this Province several poor Protestant familys 
with design of raising Flax and Hemp." For this purpose 
they sought a grant of 60,000 acres of land on Black River in 
New Hanover precinct. The grant was made and in the fol- 
lowing year the immigrants arrived and were settled in what 
is now Sampson and Duplin counties where they organized 
themselves into two congregations called Goshen and the 
Grove. Others followed, sent hither by Arthur Dobbs, him- 
self a Scotch-Irishman, who in 1753 was appointed governor 
of North Carolina. In November of that year there arrived 
at New Bern a brigantine "from Belfast, in Ireland, sent 
hither by his Excellency Governor Dobbs, with a great Num- 
ber of Irish Passengers, who are come to settle in this Prov- 
ince." A small colony of Swiss was also settled in the same 
community. In the meantime, in 1736, McCulloh, in asso- 
ciation with Murray Crymble, James Huey and others, among 
them Arthur Dobbs, had embarked upon a much vaster 
scheme. Upon their petition, an order in Council was is- 
sued, May 19. 1737, under which warrants for 1,200,000 acres 
were allowed them to be located in the back country chiefly 
along the Yadkin, the Eno, and the Catawba rivers. Under 
the terms of his grant, McCulloh, the moving spirit in the 
enterprise, was to settle within it a large number of "sub- 
stantial people" who were "to carry on the Pott Ashe Trade" 
and to raise "hemp and other naval stores." But these 

Arthur Dobbs 


grandiose schemes were never realized. As late as 1754, 
McCulloh had actually settled but 854 people within his grant. 
Innumerable difficulties arose, especially in Mecklenburg and 
Anson counties, between his agents and the people. There 
were disputes over boundary lines, quit rents, and titles, 
which led to frequent riots and bloodshed, and finally in 
1767, forced McCulloh and his associates to surrender their 
grants to the Crown. 

Of the Scotch-Irish immigrants who poured into North 
Carolina from 1735 to 1775, a few landed at Charleston and 
moved up the banks of the Pee Dee and Catawba rivers into 
the hill country of the two Carolinas, but the great majority 
landed at Philadelphia whence they moved into Western Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina. High prices of land deterred them 
from settling in Pennsylvania. In 1751, Governor Johnston 
expressed the opinion that Pennsylvania was already " over- 
stocked with people." In 1752, Bishop Spangenberg, the 
Moravian leader, declared that many settlers came into North 
Carolina from England, Scotland, and the northern colonies, 
"as they wished to own lands and were too poor to buy in 
Pennsylvania or New Jersey." To the same effect wrote 
Governor Dobbs who, in 1755, said that as many as 10,000 
immigrants from Holland, Britain and Ireland had landed 
at Philadelphia in a single season, and consequently many 
were "obliged to remove to the southward for want of lands 
to take up" in Pennsylvania. Many of these immigrants 
were induced to pass through Virginia into North Carolina 
because of the severity of the Virginia laws on religion in 
comparison with those of the latter colony. But there was 
still another reason why the Scotch-Irish were attracted to 
North Carolina in such large numbers. During the thirty 
years from 1734 to 1765 the chief executives of North Caro- 
lina were Gabriel Johnston, a native of Scotland, and Mat- 
thew Rowan and Arthur Dobbs, who were both Scotch-Irish- 
men from Ulster, and all three exerted themselves personally 
and officially to induce Scotch-Irish immigrants to settle 
here. The route which these settlers followed from Pennsyl- 
vania into North Carolina is plainly laid down on the maps 
of that day as the "Great Eoad from the Yadkin River 
through Virginia to Philadelphia." It ran from Philadel- 
phia through Lancaster and York in Pennsylvania, to Win- 
chester in Virginia, down the Shenandoah Valley, thence 
southward across the Dan River to the Moravian settlements 
on the Yadkin. The distance was 435 miles. Commenting on 


the movement by this route, Saunders says: "Remembering 
the route General Lee took when he went into Pennsylvania 
on that memorable Gettysburg campaign, it will be seen that 
very many of the North Carolina boys, both of German and 
of Scotch-Irish descent, in following their great leader, visited 
the homes of their ancestors and went hither by the very 
route by which they came away. To Lancaster and York 
counties, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina owes more of her 
population than to any other known part of the world, 3 and 
surely there never was a better population than they and 
their descendants — never better citizens, and certainly never 
better soldiers." 4 

This great tide of Scotch-Irish immigrants rolled in upon 
that section of North Carolina drained by the headwaters of 
the Neuse and the Cape Fear, and by the Yadkin, the Cataw- 
ba, and their tributaries. As early as 1740 scattered families 
were living along the Hico, the Eno, and the Haw. In 1746, 
according to the family records of Alexander Clark, a few 
families removed from the Cape Fear to the "west of the 
Yadkin," where they joined others who had already broken 
into that wilderness. But prior to 1750 immigration into 
that remote region was slow, after that date, family followed 
family, group followed group in rapid succession. In 1751, 
Governor Johnston noted that "Inhabitants flock in here 
daily, mostly from Pennsylvania and other parts of America, 
and some directly from Europe. They commonly seat them- 
selves toward the west and have got near the mountains.' 
Bishop Spangenberg, in 1752, declared that "there are many 
people coming here because they are informed that stock 
does not require to be fed in the winter season. Numbers of 
[Scotch-] Irish have therefore moved in." In 1775 Gov- 
ernor Dobbs, writing of seventy-five families who had set- 
tled on his lands along Rocky River, a tributary of the Yad- 
kin, said: "They are a colony from Pennsylvania, of what we 
call Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who with others in the neigh- 
boring Tracts had settled together .in order to have a teacher 
[i. e., minister] of their own opinion and choice." This was 
a typical pioneer Scotch-Irish community, held together on 

3 The accuracy of this statement is open to question ; most of 
the Scotch-Irish and German settlers, who came thenee into North 
( 'arolina, merely passed through Pennsylvania without ever residing 

4 Prefatory Notes to Colonial Records of North Carolina. Vol. 
IV, p. xxi. 


the frontier by common religious sympathies. A good index 
to the rapid increase of such communities in North Carolina, 
from 1750 to 1755, is found in the number of "supplications 
for ministers" which they sent up to the annual Synod of 
Philadelphia. In 1751, Rev. John Thomson, whom the Synod 
had directed to correspond with "many people" of North 
Carolina who desired to organize congregations, visited the 
Scotch-Irish settlements along the Catawba. He was the 
first preacher of any eh arch in all that region, yet when 
Hugh McAden came through the province four years later, 
he preached to more than fifty such Scotch-Irish congrega- 
tions most of which were west of the Yadkin. How rapidly 
the number of these immigrants increased is shown by a let- 
ter from Matthew Rowan, acting-governor, in 1753. He 
writes: "In the year 1746 I was up in the Country that is 
now Anson, Orange, and Rowan Countys. There was not 
then above one hundred fighting men: there is now at least 
three thousand for the most part Irish Protestants and Ger- 
mans, and dayley increasing." This means that within six 
years the population of about 500 had increased to at least 

Still another indication of the rapid increase of popula- 
tion on the western frontier is the dates of the formation of 
new counties in that section. One should bear in mind that 
these counties as they now exist, though still retaining their 
old names, have not retained their original boundary lines : 
the frontier county in colonial days had no western boundary, 
but ran as far westward as white population extended. Ac- 
cordingly every time a county was formed from the western 
end of an existing county, we know that white population had 
moved farther westward. In 1746, Edgecombe, Craven, and 
Bladen had such far-reaching western extensions. But so 
fast was population increasing and the colony expanding that 
in that year Granville was cut off from Edgecombe, John- 
ston from Craven, and three years later, Anson from Bladen. 
The boundaries of these new counties extended to the moun- 
tains and beyond. In 1752, Orange, still farther westward, 
was taken from Granville, Johnston and Bladen; and in 1753 
Rowan was cut off from Anson. Nine years later another 
part of Anson, still farther to the westward, was taken to 
form Mecklenburg, which had become the center of the Scotch- 
Irish settlements. Thus within sixteen years, as a result of 
the influx of Scotch-Irish and German immigrants into Pied- 


mont Carolina, six new comities were found necessary for 
their convenience. 5 

It is difficult to arrive at a just estimate of the character 
of the Scotch-Irish. There is perhaps no virtue in the whole 
catalogue of human virtues which has not been ascribed to 
them ; no great principle of human liberty which has not 
been placed to their credit; no great event in our history in 
which they are not said to have played the leading part. 
Eulogy has exhausted the English tongue in their praise. 
But eulogy is not necessarily history, and history must strive 
to preserve the true balance between praise and censure. We 
know that the Scotch-Irishman was domestic in his habits 
and loved his home and family; but we know also that he 
was unemotional, seldom gave expression to his affections, 
and presented to the world the appearance of great reserve, 
coldness, and austerity. He was loval to his own kith and 
kin, but stern and unrelenting with his enemies. He was 
deeply aud earnestly religious, but the very depth and earn- 
estness of his convictions made him narrow-minded and bigot- 
ted. He was law-abiding as long as the laws were to his 
liking, but when they ceased to be he disregarded them, 
peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary. Independent and 
self-reliant, he was opinionated and inclined to lord it over 
any who would submit to his aggressions. He was brave, 
and he loved the stir of battle. He came of a fighting race; 
the blood of the old Covenanters flowed in his veins, and the 
beat of the drum, the sound of the fife, the call of the bugle 
aroused his fighting instincts. His whole history shows that 
he would fight, that he might be crushed but never subdued. 
In short, in both his admirable and his censurable traits, he 
possessed just the qualities that were needed on the Carolina 
frontier in the middle of the eighteenth century, qualities that 
enabled him to conquer the great wilderness of the Piedmont 
plateau, to drive back the savages, and to become, as Mr. 
Roosevelt has said, "the pioneers of our people in their 
march westward, the vanguard of the army of fighting set- 
tlers, who with axe and rifle won their way from the Alle- 
ghanies to the Rio Grande and the Pacific." 6 

Moving over the same route as the Scotch-Irish, and also 
coming from Pennsylvania, flowed the stream of German 

5 Hanna estimates the Scotch population in North Carolina in 
1775 at about one-third the total population, i. e. 65,000. — The Scotch- 
Irish in America, Vol. I, pp. 82-84. 

c Winning of the West. Vol. T, p. 134. 


immigrants who came into North Carolina from 1745 to 1775. 
Various motives prompted their migration. Some came in 
search of adventure and good hunting grounds. Others were 
looking for good lands and, like the Scotch-Irish, turning 
their backs on Pennsylvania because of the high price of 
lands in that colony. Still others were inspired by religious 
zeal. The first and smallest of these three groups became 
hunters and trappers, and in the vast unexplored forests 
extending along the foothills of the Alleghanies and cover- 
ing the mountain sides, they chased the fox and the deer, 
hunted the buffalo and the bear, shot the wolf and the 
panther, and trapped the otter and the beaver. With the 
opening of spring, they would gather up their stores of 
furs and skins and seek the settlements, frequently going as 
far north as Philadelphia and as far south as Charleston, to 
dispose of their winter's harvests. Typical of this class of 
immigrants was Daniel Boone, who, though not of German 
ancestry, was born in a Pennsylvania-German settlement and 
came to North Carolina along with the tide of German immi- 
gration. Those who came in search of land found it of course 
plentiful, cheap and fertile. The only capital needed on the 
Carolina frontier was thrift, energy, and common sense, and 
these the Germans possessed in a marked degree. Accord- 
ingly many thousands of them, driven from the Fatherland 
by unfavorable economic conditions, carved handsome estates 
for themselves and their children out of the Carolina wilder- 
ness, dotting the banks of the Yadkin and Catawba rivers 
with their neat, pleasant farms, and their plain but comfort- 
able cabins. A third class of Germans came to North Caro- 
lina in search of religious freedom and fields for missionary 
activity. like their neighbors, the Scotch-Irish, they were 
inspired by a fervent religious zeal, but many of them came 
not so much to seek religious freedom for themselves as to 
carry the Gospel to the Indians. They represented three 
branches of the Protestant church, — the Unitas Fratrum, or 
Moravian Church, the Lutheran, and the German Reformed. 

Tho most distinct of the German settlements in North 
Carolina was the one made by the Moravians in Wachovia. 
In 1752, the Moravians at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, moved 
by a desire to find a home free from all religions interfer- 
ence, by a purpose to carry Christianity to the Indians, and 
by a wish to develop a community on their own peculiar prin- 
ciples without outside meddling, determined to plant a settle- 
ment on the Carolina frontier. With that thoroughness which 

Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg 


was one of their most marked characteristics, they first dis- 
patched an exploring party under the leadership of Bishop 
Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, to view the land and select 
the site for the colony. Spangenberg's party proceeded first 
to Edenton, thence crossed almost the entire length of North 
Carolina, and ascended to the very summit of the Blue Ridge 
Mountains where they viewed the headwaters of streams that 
rise in North Carolina and flow into the Mississippi River. 
A journal in which the good bishop recorded the minutest 
details of their expedition tells us in simple and impressive 
language the story of the dangers and hardships which the 
members of his party encountered. Sickness, cold and hun- 
ger were among the least of their sufferings. After a thor- 
ough and painstaking survey the party selected a tract of 
land in what is now Forsyth County containing about 100,- 
000 acres. "As regards this land," wrote the bishop, "I re- 
gard it as a corner which the Lord has reserved for the 
Brethren. The situation of this land is quite pecu- 

liar. It has countless springs and many creeks; so that as 
many mills can be built as may be desirable. These streams 
make many and fine meadow lands. The most of 

this land is level and plain; the air fresh and healthy, and 
the water is good, especially the springs, which are said not 
to fail in summer. In the beginning a good forester 

and hunter will be indispensable. The wolves and bears must 
be extirpated as soon as possible, or stock raising will be 
pursued under difficulties. The game in this region may also 
be very useful to the Brethren in the first years of the 

It was Bishop Spangenberg who called the settlement 
Wachovia. The word is derived from two German words, 
"wach" a meadow, and "aue" a stream. Wachovia lay with- 
in the possessions of Lord Granville and from him the Mora- 
vian Brethren purchased it in August, 1753. Two months 
later their plans were all completed, and on October 8, 1753, 
twelve unmarried men set out from the Moravian settlement 
at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to break ground for the settle- 
ment in North Carolina. No better evidence is needed of the 
shrewd, common sense of those German settlers than the 
simple fact that this small band, whose mission was to lay 
the foundation of civilization in the wilderness, consisted of 
a minister of the Gospel, a warden, a physician, a tailor, a 
baker, a shoemaker and tanner, a gardener, three farmers, 
and two carpenters. In the community which they went out 


to establish there was to be no place for drones. It is also 
interesting to note that they were fnllv conscious of the 
significance of their undertaking. Looking far into the future 
they foresaw the growth and development of their community 
and the intense interest with which posterity would inquire 
into its beginnings. Accordingly from the very beginning 
they recorded their dailv doings to the minutest and most 
trivial details. 

The little band of Moravian Brethren made their journey 
from Pennsylvania to Carolina in a large covered wagon 
drawn by six horses. Nearly six weeks were required for 
the trip. When they left Pennsylvania they were oppressed 
with heat: when they reached North Carolina the ground wis 
covered with snow. At 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon, Novem- 
ber 17th, they reached the spot where now stanls the town 
of Bethabara, better known in its immediate neighborhood as 
"Old Town." There they found shelter in a log cabin which 
had been built but afterwards deserted by a German trapper 
named Hans Wagoner. It was an humble abode, without a 
floor and with a roof full of cracks and holes, but in it the 
Brethren held their first divine service and had their first 
"love feast. ' : Sundav was observed as a day of real rest, 
but was followed by weeks of earnest, manly toil. One of 
their first cares was to enlarge their cabin and to lav in a 
supply of provisions for the winter. Their rifles supplied 
them with game in abundance. Salt was procured from Vir- 
ginia, flour and corn from the Scotch-Irish settlements on 
the Yadkin, and beef from those on the Dan. In December 
they sowed their first wheat. A few days later came the 
Christmas season, and on Christmas Eve they gathered 
around the great open fire in their log cabin to hear again 
the wonderful story of Bethlehem. "We had a little love 
feast," says their faithful journal, "then near the Christ 
Child we had our first Christmas Eve in North Carolina, and 
rested in peace in this hope and faith. * All this 

while the wolves and panthers howled and screamed in the 
forest? near by." 

Throughout their first year the Moravian Brethren kept 
steadily at their tasks, and before the year had gone they 
had in oppration a carpenter shop, a tailoring establishment, 
a pottery, a blacksmith shor), a shoe shop, a tannery and a 
cooper shop; had harvested wheat, corn, tobacco, flax, mil- 
let, barley, oats, buckwheat, turnips, cotton, garden vegeta- 
bles; had cleared and cultivated fields, cut roads through the 


forests, built a mill an 1 erected several cabins. They made 
long journeys to Philadelphia and to Wilmington. The physi- 
cian, Doctor Lash, made trips twenty, fifty and even a hun- 
dred miles through the forests to visit the sick and relieve 
the suffering. The Brethren had many visitors who came 
long distances to consult the physician or to secure the 
services of the shoemaker or the tailor. Within three months, 
during the year 1754, 103 visitors came to Wachovia. The 
next year the number was 426. Visitors were so numerous 
that the Brethren decided to build a " strangers' house." 
This was the second building in Wachovia. Four days after 
it was finished it was occupied by a man and his invalid 
wife who came to consult the physician. Travel between 
Wachovia and Pennsylvania was frequent and the little col- 
ony continued to grow. More unmarried men and later a 
few married couples came from Pennsylvania, and by 1756 
the Bethabara colony numbered sixty-five souls. Until the 
outbreak of the French and Indian War, the Moravians were 
on friendly terms with the Indians. Indeed, one of their 
purposes in coming to North Carolina was to preach the 
Gospel to the Indians who soon began to speak of the settle- 
ment at Bethabara as "the Dutch fort, where there are good 
people and much bread." But with the breaking out of the 
war the savages became hostile, and their enmity gave the 
Moravian Brethren much trouble. The Brethren were com- 
pelled to build forts, to arm every man in the colony, and 
to place sentinels around the settlement. The Moravians 
were frequently called upon to go to the defense of their 
white neighbors. From thirty to forty miles around families 
sought refuge at Bethabara Avhere all learned to love and re- 
spect the Moravian Brethren, and not a few applied for 
membership in the Moravian Church. 

After the close of the war the settlement grew more 
rapidly. Two towns, Bethabara and Bethania, were founded 
before 1760, but from the first the Brethren intended that the 
chief town should be in the center of Wachovia, and they 
thought the closing of the Indian war and the re-establishment 
of peace a favorable time to begin it. The first act in the 
founding of this new town, which received the name of Salem, 
took place January 6, 1766. During the singing of a hymn, 
work was begun by clearing a site for the first house, and 
on February 19th eight young men moved into it. Other 
houses were then erected in quick succession, and during the 
next vears manv of the Bethabara community moved to 


Salem, where they were joined by more Brethren from Beth- 
lehem, and by a goodly number directly from Germany. Sa- 
lem soon became the principal settlement of the Moravians in 
North Carolina. In 1773, an Englishman who visited Salem, 
left an interesting description of the town and its people as 
they appeared just upon the eve of the Revolution. "This 
society, sect or fraternity of the Moravians," he wrote, "have 
everything in common, and are possessed of a very large and 
extensive property. * From their infancy they are 

instructed in even- branch of useful and common literature, 
as well as in mechanical knowledge and labour. 
The Moravians have many excellent and very valuable farms, 
on which they make large quantities of butter, flour and pro- 
visions, for exportation. They also possess a number of use- 
ful and lucrative manufactures, particularly a very extensive 
one of earthenware, which they have brought to great perfec- 
tion, and supply the whole country with it for some hundred 
miles around. Tn short, they certainly are val- 

uable subjects, and by their unremitting industry and labour 
have brought a large extent of wild, rugged country into a 
high state of population and improvement. ' ' 7 

As a rule the Germans came into North Carolina as or- 
ganized bodies. The Moravians, as has been seen, kept their 
organization intact and distinct from all others, but Reformed 
and Lutheran congregations frequently united to build 
churches and support ministers. Two such congregations, 
desiring to build a church in common, drew up an agreement 
in which they stated as their reason for uniting that "Since 
we are both united in the principal doctrines of Christianity, 
we find no difference between us except in name." Prior to 
the Revolution many such union churches were built through- 
out the present counties of Guilford, Alamance, Orange, 
Randolph, Davidson, Davie, Iredell, Cabarrus, Stanly, Union, 
Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Catawba, and Burke. The first of 
these settlements was made about 1745. In that year Luther- 
an congregations were organized on Haw River. In the same 
year Henry Weidner, a Pennsylvania-German, entered what 
is now Catawba County as a hunter and trapper; before 1760 
he had been joined by other German settlers in number suf- 
ficient to form a congregation. The first Germans in Rowan 
County appeared about 1750. Three years later, Matthew 

7 Smyth, J. F. D. : A Tour in the United States of America, Vol. 
I, pp. 214-17. 


Rowan, acting-governor, wrote that "our three fruntire 
County's are Anson, Orange, and Rowan. They are for the 
most part settled with Irish Protestants and Germans, brave, 
Industrius people. Their Militia amounts to upwards of 
three thousand Men and Increasing fast. ' ' We are not with- 
out evidence of how fast this increase was. A correspondent 
of the South Carolina and American General Gazette, writing 
from Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1768, says: "There is scarce 
any history either ancient or modern, which affords an ac- 
count of such a rapid and sudden increase of inhabitants 
in a back frontier country, as that of North Carolina. To 
justify the truth of this observation, we need only to assure 
you that twenty years ago there were not twenty taxable 
people within the limits of the county of Orange; in which 
there are now four thousand taxable. The increase of Inhabi- 
tants, and the flourishing state of the other adjoining back 
counties, are no less surprising and astonishing." Four 
thousand taxables means about 16,000 people. Most of these, 
of course, were Scotch-Irish, but the Germans formed a large 
percentage of the total. In 1771, the vestry of St. Luke's 
Parish, Salisbury, stated that in Rowan, Orange, Mecklen- 
burg, and Tryon counties there "are already settled near 
three thousand German protestant families, and being very 
fruitful in that healthy climate, are besides vastly increasing 
by numbers of German protestants almost weekly arriving 
from Pennsylvania and other provinces of America. ' : Ac- 
cording to Governor Dobbs, the frontier families generally 
embraced from five to ten members each; on this basis, 
therefore, allowing for probable exaggeration, the total Ger- 
man population of Rowan, Orange, Mecklenburg and Tryon 
counties in 1771 must have been not less than 15,000. s 

Like the Scotch Highlanders, the Germans in North Caro- 
lina endeavored to preserve their language and customs. In 
1773, an English traveller who had lost his way in the vicinity 
of Hillsboro, records in his journal: "It was unlucky for 
me that the greater number of the inhabitants on the plan- 
tations where I called to inquire my way, being Germans, 
neither understood my questions nor could make themselves 
intelligible to me." It was not until years after the Revolu- 
tion that English became the common language in the Ger- 
man settlements. The first English school among them was 

8 Faust estimates the German population in North Carolina in 
1775 at 8,000. — manifestly an under-estimate. — The German Element 
in the United States, Vol. I, pp. 284-85. 

Vol. 1—12 


opened in Cabarrus County in 1798. English made its way 
slowly against the opposition of the older people who clung 
tenaciously to the language of their cradles, and finally won 
only because their children, wiser than their parents, were 
unwilling to go through life under the handicap of being 
ignorant of the very language in which they had to transact 
their daily affairs. In one respect the fate of the Germans 
was harder even than that of the Scotch Highlanders, — the 
former lost not only their language, but their names also, 
for as time passed, most of the German names became Angli- 
cized. Thus Kuhn became Coon, Behringer became Bar- 
ringer, Scheaffer became Shepherd, Albrecht became Al- 
bright, Zimmerman became Carpenter, so that many families 
in North Carolina today whose names indicate an English 
ancestry are really of German descent. 

Estimates of the population of North Carolina prior to 
the census of 1790 vary widely, and when attempts are made 
to go still further and estimate the proportion of the various 
racial elements in that population the divergences are greater 
still. Nevertheless, taking all these estimates into considera- 
tion, and adopting a very conservative course, one can 
scarcely resist the conclusion that, placing the total popula- 
tion in 1760 at 130,000 is certainly not open to the criticism 
of exaggeration. The same data on which this estimate is 
based lead to the conclusion that the number of negro slaves 
in the colony at that time was about one-fourth of the total 
population. Doubling Faust's estimate of the German popu- 
lation, which the data seem to justify, accepting Hanna's es- 
timate of the Scotch as one-third of the total, and rejecting 
all other elements, i. e., French, Swiss and Welsh, as too 
small to be taken into account, and the Indians, who were not 
included in any of the estimates, we arrive at the following 
analysis of the population of North Carolina in 1760 : 

English 45,000 

Scotch 40,000 

German 15,000 

Negroes 30,000 

Total 130,000 

The English and Scotch were born subjects of the British 
Crown, and the Germans, therefore, were the only important 
foreign element in the white population. To place them, and 


those who claimed titles to property derived from them, upon 
an equality with the English and Scotch, the Assembly, in 1764, 
enacted "that all Foreign Protestants heretofore inhabiting 
within this Province, and dying seized of any Lands, Tene- 
ments, or Hereditaments, shall, forever hereafter, be deemed, 
taken, and esteemed to have been naturalized, and intituled 
to all the Rights, Privileges, and Advantages of natural Born 

J 7 


It is obviously impossible in the brief space of a single 
chapter to give an adequate account of the social, religious 
and educational ideals and practices of any large and complex 
community through a century of its history. All that will be 
attempted here, therefore, will be a very brief statement of 
some of the more important of these ideals and practices in 
colonial North Carolina to which nothing more than mere ref- 
erence can be made in the general narrative which makes up 
this volume. 

In colonial times, class distinctions w T ere sharply drawn. 
The highest social group was that which was composed of the 
large planters, professional men, and public officials. Many 
of them were connected by family ties with the gentry of 
England, Scotland, and Ireland and they sought to maintain 
in America the social distinctions which characterized their 
class in the Old World. Speaking broadly they were men and 
women of education, culture, refinement and character. Evi- 
dence of their social rank is found in the application to them 
of such terms as "gentleman," "esquire," "planter," all 
of which had a technical significance when used, as they 
commonly were, in such official documents as wills, deeds, 
and court records. The general use of such insignia as fam- 
ily crests and coats-of-arms was also indicative of the social 
rank of the planters. Says a scholarly Virginia historian: 
"There is no reason to think that armorial bearings were as 
freely and loosely assumed in those early times as they are 
so often now, under republican institutions; such bearings 
were then a right of property, as clearly defined as any other, 
and continue to be in modern England, what they were in 
colonial Virginia. In the seventeenth century, when so large 
a proportion of the persons occupying the highest position 
in the society of the colony were natives of England, the un- 
warranted assumption of a coat-of-arms would probably have 



been as soon noticed, and perhaps as quickly resented, as in 
England itself. The prominent families in Virginia were as 
well acquainted with the social antecedents of each other in 
the mother country as families of the same rank in England 
were with the social antecedents of the leading families in 
the surrounding shires; they were, therefore, thoroughly 
competent to pass upon a claim of this nature; and the fact 
that they were, must have had a distinct influence in prevent- 
ing a false claim from being put forward. In a general way, 
it may be said it was quite as natural for Virginians of those 
times to be as slow and careful as contemporary English- 
men in advancing a claim of this kind without a leg'al right 
on which to base it, and, therefore, when they did advance 
it, that it was likely to stand the test of examination by the 
numerous persons in the colony who must have been familiar 
with English coats-of-arms, in general. The posses- 

sion of coats-of-arms by the leading Virginian families in the 
seventeenth century is disclosed in various incidental ways. 
Insignia of this kind are frequently included among the per- 
sonal property appraised in inventories. And they were also 
stampt on pieces of fine silver-plate." 1 A more frequent use 
was to stamp impressions on seals of letters and valuable 
papers. That what Mr. Bruce says of the use and significance 
of such insignia in Virginia is equally true of North Caro- 
lina, is shown by an examination qf the wills and other val- 
uable papers of colonial families, many of 'which are sealed 
with crests and arms which show close relationship between 
their signers and the gentry of the mother country. 

Just below the planters in social rank was the largest 
single social group in the colony which was composed chiefly 
of small farmers, who tilled the land with their own hands. 
Their life was crude. They enjoyed few luxuries and fewer 
refinements. They worked hard, played hard, lived hard. 
Brickell declares that some of them "equalize with the Ne- 
groes in hard Labour." On holidays, or between working 
seasons, they indulged in such sports as horse-racing, cock- 
fighting, wrestling, and on these occasions generally drank 
hard and deep of strong liquor. "I have frequently seen 
them, ' ' wrote Brickell, ' ' come to the Towns, and there remain 
Drinking Rum, Punch, and other Liquors for Eight or Ten 
Days successively, and after they have committed this Excess, 

1 Bruce : Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century, pp 


will not drink any Spirituous Liquor, 'till such time as they 
take the next Frolick, as they call it, which is generally in 
two or three Months." Despite crudities and excesses, due 
chiefly to the hard, circumscribed life of a frontier community, 
they possessed the sterling qualities characteristic of English 
veomen. Thev, too, had a keen class consciousness and took 
as much pride in being able to write after their names, as their 
wills and other records testify, such terms as "farmer," 
"husbandman," "yeoman," as the planters did in using 
terms similarly descriptive of their social rank. "I, Thomas 
West, of Bertie County and Province of North Carolina, 
Yeoman," thus Thomas West begins his will. A strong, 
fearless, independent race, simple in tastes, crude in manners, 
provincial in outlook, democratic in social relations, tenacious 
of their rights, sensitive to encroachments on their personal 
liberties, and, when interested in religion at all, earnest, nar- 
row and dogmatic, such were the people who chiefly deter- 
mined the character of the civilization of North Carolina. 

Next in the social order were the indentured white servants 
among whom were represented many classes and conditions. 
Some — fortunately a negligible number — were convicts sold 
into bondage as a punishment for crime. Another class en- 
tered in the official records as criminals were guilty only of 
political offenses. Many of the followers of the Duke of 
Monmouth after his defeat at Sedgemore in 1685 were de- 
ported to the colonies under sentences of servitude. An even 
more unfortunate class were the women and children who had 
been kidnapped in London and other large cities and sent to 
the colonies to supply the increasing demands for labor. But 
the largest number of indentured servants were those who 
had voluntarily taken upon themselves the obligations of serv- 
ice in order to pay for their passage across the Atlantic. 
Some of this class were of low moral and intellectual develop- 
ment, but most of them were energetic, industrious and thrifty 
persons who had simply taken the only means open to them to 
leave the Old World for the greater opportunities of the New 
World. At the expiration of their terms of service their mas- 
ters were required by law to fit them out decently with food 
and clothes ; in the case of a man-servant, the master must 
also furnish "a good well-fixed Gun." An indentured serv- 
ant, at the expiration of his term, was also entitled to take 
up fifty acres of land. Thus many of this class entered the 
ranks of the small farmer group and by industry and frugal- 
ity became good, substantial citizens. 


The lowest social group was, of course, composed of negro 
slaves. From the beginning of the colony the soil of North 
Carolina was dedicated to slavery. It was recognized in the 
Concessions of 1665 and in the Fundamental Constitutions. 
The Lords Proprietors encouraged it by granting fifty acres 
for each slave above fourteen years of age brought into the 
colony. At a court held in February, 1694, several persons 
appeared and proved their rights to land by the importation 
of negroes. Besides negroes the whites early adopted the 
custom of reducing to slavery Indians captured in battle. 

Necessity made the slave code harsh and cruel. Stringent 
restrictions were thrown around the movements of slaves. 
They were not to be permitted to leave their masters' planta- 
tions without proper tickets of identification stating the place 
from which, and the place to which they were going ; and simi- 
lar restraints, under severe penalties, were placed on their 
right to hunt, to bear arms, and to assemble together or com- 
municate with one another at night. The Fundamental Con- 
stitutions gave masters "absolute power and authority over 
negro slaves," but the king, after purchasing the colony, 
sought to mitigate this law by securing to the slave his right 
to life. It was not, however, until 1754 that the Assembly 
considered making the wilful killing of a slave punishable 
by death, and even then the Council rejected the bill. In 1773 
a similar measure introduced by William Hooper passed both 
houses and was rejected by the governor. The following year 
such an act was passed by both houses, and was the last law, 
but one, that was signed by a royal governor of North Caro- 
lina. Barbarous punishments were inflicted upon slaves con- 
victed of crimes. Brickell records that he had frequently seen 
negroes whipped until large pieces of skin were hanging down 
their backs, "yet," he added, "I never observed one of them 
shed a tear." A negro, mulatto, or Indian convicted of per- 
jury was punished by being compelled to stand for one hour 
with his ear nailed to pillory, after which he was released by 
having his ear cut off; then a similar proceeding was followed 
with the other ear ; and the punishment was completed by the 
infliction of thirty-nine lashes on his bare back, well laid on. 
Negroes guilty of rape were often castrated. There are on 
record instances of negroes, who had been convicted of mur- 
der, being burned at the stake by order of the court. It would 
be easy, however, to make too much of the severity of these 
punishments, and, to draw unwarranted conclusions from 
them, for it ought not to be forgotten that they were inflicted 


at a time when the criminal codes of all nations were disgraced 
by cruel and barbarous practices. 

The earliest slaves in the colony were undoubtedly pagans, 
and their masters as a rule were willing enough for them to 
remain so. This attitude was due less to indifference than to 
a widespread belief that it was illegal to hold a Christian in 
bondage. In 1709, Rev. James Adams reported that there 
were 211 negroes in Pasquotank Precinct, "some few of which 
are instructed in the principles of the Christian religion, but 
their masters will by no means permit them to be baptized, 
having a false notion that a Christian slave is, by law, free." 
This belief, however, was not universal and some masters per- 
mitted their slaves to be baptized. Gradually it died out alto- 
gether and the baptism of slaves who professed Christianity 
became general. 

The hold which the institution of slavery secured on the 
colony is indicated by its rapid growth. Careful estimates, 
some of which are official, show the population of negroes at 
various times as follows: 1712, 800; 1717, 1,100; 1730, 6,000; 
1754, 15,000; 1756, 19,000; 1765, 30,000; 1767, 39,000. The 
increase was due chiefly to births. In 1754, only nineteen 
negroes were entered in the customs-house at Bath ; and during 
the preceding seven years the average number annually 
brought in at Beaufort was only seventeen. The stronghold 
of slavery was in the East where, as early as 1767, the negroes 
out-numbered the whites. 

Historians do not agree in their delineation of the char- 
acter of the settlers of North Carolina. There are those, of 
whom perhaps George Davis, the historian of the Cape Fear, 
was the most eminent, who would have us believe that they 
''were no needy adventurers, driven bv necessity — 
no unlettered boors, ill at ease in the haunts of civiliza- 
tion, and seeking their proper sphere amidst the barbarism 
of the savage," but that "they were gentlemen of birth and 
education, bred in the refinement of polished society, and 
bringing with them ample fortunes, gentle manners, and cul- 
tivated minds." 2 On the other hand there are others who, 
like John Fiske, could see in colonial North Carolina nothing 
more than "a kind of back-woods for Virginia," "an Alsatia 
for insolvent debtors," "mean white trash," and "outlaws," 
from the northern colony. Fiske divides the early settlers of 
North Carolina into two classes : First, the thriftless, im- 

2 University Address, 1855. 


provident white servant class who could not maintain a 
respectable existence for themselves in Virginia; second, the 
"outlaws who fled [from Virginia] into North Carolina to 
escape the hangman. " 3 Neither picture is true, for if Davis 
insists that the shield is all gold, none the less does Fiske 
insist that it is all of a baser metal. The truth lies between. 
Undoubtedly there were enough well-born, educated leaders 
among the population to give a cultured tone to the best so- 
ciety in the colony; and undoubtedly there were enough 
escaped outlaws to stimulate the vigilance of the officers of 
the criminal law. But both together constituted no larger 
percentage of the population of North Carolina than of the 
other colonies and in none of them were they ever more than 
a very small minority. Between the two extremes, constitut- 
ing them as now the bone and sinew of the population, were 
those sturdy, enterprising, law-abiding, and liberty-loving 
middle class Englishmen who have always from Crecy and 
Agincourt to Yorktown, Gettysburg, and Mons formed the 
strength and character of English-speaking peoples. After 
the middle of the eighteenth century came that great tide of 
Scotch peoples who renewed and strengthened but did not 
essentially alter these characteristics of the great mass of the 
population of colonial North Carolina. 

The best contemporary account of the social and industrial 
life of the colony during the first seventy-five years of its ex- 
istence is that found in Brickell's "Natural History of North 
Carolina," published in 1737. The author was a physician 
and scientist of ability whose residence for several years in 
the colony gave him ample opportunity for observation. Says 
he: "The Europians, or Christians of North-Carolina, are a 
streight, tall, well-limbed and active People. * The 

Men who frequent the Woods, and labour out of Doors, or use 
the Waters, the vicinity of the Sun makes Impressions on 
them ; but as for the Women who do not expose themselves to 
the Weather, they are often very fair, and well-featured, as 
you shall meet with any where, and have very Brisk and 
Charming Eyes ; and as well and finely shaped, as any Women 
in the world. * * * They marry generally very young, some 
at Thirteen or Fourteen; and she that continues unmarried, 
until Twenty, is reckoned a stale maid, which is a very indif- 
ferent Character in that Country. * * The Children 
are very Docile and apt to learn any thing, as any 

3 Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. II, p. 316. 


Children in Europe ; and those that have the advantage to be 
Educated, Write good Hands, and prove good Accountants. 

The young Men are generally of a bashful, sober 
Behaviour, few proving Prodigals, to spend what the Parents 
with Care and Industry have left them, but commonlv Im- 
prove it. The Girls are not only bred to the Needle 

and Spinning, but to the Dairy and domestic Affairs, which 
many of them manage with a great deal of prudence and con- 
duct, though they are very young. * The Women are 
most Industrious in these Parts, and many of them by their 
good Housewifery make a great deal of Cloath of their Cotton, 
Wool, and Flax, and some of them weave their own Cloath 
with which they decently Apparel their whole Family though 
large. Others are so Ingenious that they make up all the 
wearing apparel both for Husband, Sons and Daughters. 
Others are very ready to help and assist their Husbands in 
any Servile Work, as planting when the Season of the Year 
requires expedition: Pride seldom banishing Housewifery. 

The Men are very ingenious in several Handycraft 
Businesses, and in building their Canoes and Houses 
Their Furniture, as with us, consists of Pewter, Brass, Tables, 
Chairs, which are imported here commonly from England: 
The better sort have tolerable Quantities of Plate, with other 
convenient, ornamental and valuable Furniture. There are 
throughout this settlement as good bricks as any I ever met 
with in Europe. All sorts of handicrafts, such as carpenters, 
coopers, bricklayers, plasterers, shoemakers, tanners, tailors, 
weavers, and most other sorts of tradesmen, may with small 
beginnings, and good industry, soon thrive well in this place 
and provirle good estates and all manner of necessaries for 
their families." 

Land and slaves were then, as they continued to be 
throughout the South until 1865, the chief form of wealth in 
Eastern North Carolina. Consequently the growth of towns 
was very slow and life in the colony was seen at its best on the 
great estates of the planters scattered along the banks of the 
rivers and their tributaries. Many of these planters counted 
from 5,000 to 10,000 acres in their estates, while not a few 
were lords of princely domains embracing from 30,000 to 
50,000 acres, and were masters of as many as 250 slaves. In 
1732 Thomas Pollock of Bertie County devised 22,000 acres 
of land, besides 10 other plantations, and 75 slaves; Edward 
Moseley, in 1749, mentioned in his will tracts embracing 30,- 
000 acres, besides three other plantations, and 88 slaves; 


Thomas Pollock of Chowan County, in 1753, left 10,000 acres 
and 16 other plantations, and 75 slaves; Governor Gabriel 
Johnston's estate included more than 25,000 acres and 103 
slaves ; Cullen Pollock mentioned in his will 150 negroes ; while 
Roger Moore of New Hanover County in 1750 mentioned 250 
slaves. The prices of negroes of course varied according to 
time and the individual negro. In 1694 James Phillpotts of 
Albemarle County left 6,000 pounds of pork for the purchase 
of a negro. In 1680 the estate of Valentine Bird included 12 
negroes valued at £310 sterling; in 1695 a negro man and his 
wife belonging to Seth Sothel's estate sold for £10; in 17-45 an 
old negro woman belonging to James Winwright of Carteret 
County sold for £100, a negro boy for £150, a negro man for 
£200, and another for £250, these prices probably being reck- 
oned in proclamation money. 

The river courses afforded the best sites for plantations 
not only because of the greater fertility of the bottom lands, 
but also because of the greater ease of transportation. Brick- 
ell tells us that "Both Sexes are very dexterous in paddling 
and managing their Canoes, both Men, Women, Boys, and 
Girls, being bred to it from Infancy." At the planter's wharf 
sloops, schooners, and brigantines were loaded with cargoes 
of skins, salt pork and beef, tallow, staves, naval stores, lum- 
ber, tobacco, corn, rice, and other products of the plantation 
to be carried away to the West Indies and exchanged for rum, 
molasses, sugar, and coffee, or to Boston where the proceeds 
were invested in clothing, household goods, books, and ne- 
groes. In 1734, Edward Salter of Bath, in his will, directs his 
executors to load his brigantine with tar and send it to Boston 
to be exchanged for young negroes. In 1753 the exports from 
North Carolina plantations were 61,528 barrels of tar; 12,052 
barrels of pitch ; 10,429 barrels of turpentine ; 762,000 staves ; 
61,580 bushels of corn ; 100 hogsheads of tobacco, and 30,000 
deer skins, besides lumber and other commodities. 

On an elevated site overlooking some river and generally 
approached through a long avenue of oaks, cedars, or poplars, 
stood the "Manor House," or as the negroes called it the 
"Big House." Brickell says that in their houses "the most 
substantial Planters generally use Brick, and Lime, which is 
made of Oyster-shells ; * the meaner Sort erect with 

Timber, the outside with Clap-boards, the Roofs of both sorts 
of Houses are made with Shingles, and they generally have 
Sash Windows, and affect large and decent Rooms with good 
Closets, as they do a most beautiful Prospect by some noble 


River or Creek." These residences were often characterized 
by the huge white columns, broad verandas, wide halls, large 
and spacious rooms, which have become famous as the " colo- 
nial" style. Whether of wood or brick all were the seats of 
unbounded hospitality. John Lawson tells us that ' ' the plant- 
ers [are] hospitable to all that come to visit them; there being 
very few housekeepers but what live very nobly and give away 
more provisions to coasters and guests who come to see them 
than they expend among their own families." Hospitality 
to strangers and travellers was regarded as a social duty 
which the wealthy planters, owing to the absence of inns and 
comfortable taverns, felt impelled to exercise for the honor 
of the province. Indeed, upon a lonely plantation, a gar- 
rulous traveller or a genial sea-captain who brought news of 
the outside world, was ever an honored and a welcome guest, 
for whom the housekeeper brought out her finest silver and 
china ware, her best linen and her most tempting morsels, 
while the planter regaled him with the choicest liquid re- 
freshments which his cellar afforded, for as Brickell assures 
us, "the better Sort, or those of good (Economy" kept "plenty 
of Wine, Rum, and other Liquors at their own Houses, which 
they generally make use of amongst their Friends and Ac- 
quaintance, after a most decent and discreet Manner. ' ' 

Every great plantation was almost a complete community 
in itself. Each had its own shops, mills, distillery, tannery, 
spinning wheels and looms, and among the slaves were to be 
found excellent blacksmiths, carpenters, millers, shoemakers, 
spinners, and weavers, and other artisans. "The Cloathings 
used by the Men," Brickell tells us, "are English Cloaths, 
Druggets, Durois, Green Linen, etc. The Women have their 
Silks, Calicoes, Stamp-Linen, Calimanchoes, and all kinds of 
Stuffs, some whereof are Manufactured in the Province. They 
make few Hats, though they have the best Furrs in plenty, 
but with this Article, they are commonly supplied from New- 
England, and sometimes from Europe." In their homes the 
planters were supplied not only with all the necessities of a 
pioneer community, but enjoyed many of the comforts and 
luxuries usually found only in a long established society. An 
examination of their wills, inventories, and other documents 
shows among their household furniture an ample supply of 
those fine old mahogany tables, sideboards, bedsteads, couches, 
chairs, and desks which excite the envy of modern housekeep- 
ers and deplete the purses of modern husbands. That the 
Carolina housekeeper was prepared to play the hospitable 


hostess to the most particular guest or the most pompous 
colonial potentate who might chance to honor her board, is 
well attested by the excellent silver, china, and glassware 
which adorned her sideboard. The diamond rings, earrings, 
necklaces, and other jewelry which the colonial dame passed 
down as heirlooms to her children and grandchildren show 
clearly enough from whom the twentieth century dame in- 
herited her love of finery and personal ornaments; while a 
goodly sprinkling of silver and gold kneebuckles, shoebuckles, 
and other such trinkets betrays the vanity with which the 
colonial planter displayed his silk-stockinged calf and shapely 

Much of what has been written above applies only to the 
older communities in Eastern Carolina;, some modifications 
are necessary in describing conditions in the back country. 
There farms were smaller, agriculture was less dependent 
upon slave labor, and the land, therefore, was better tilled. 
Industrial enterprises were more important. With the Scotch- 
Irish and German settlers industries which the eastern plant- 
ers usually left to negro slaves were conducted by skilled 
laborers. Among the most prosperous settlers in those com- 
munities were the weavers, joiners, coopers, wheelwrights, 
wagon-makers, tailors, blacksmiths, hatters, rope-makers, and 
fullers. The Germans in Wachovia early set up "a number 
of useful and lucrative manufactures, particularly a very ex- 
tensive one of earthenware, which they have brought to a 
great perfection, and supply the whole country with it for 
some hundred miles around. ' ' 4 What Doctor McKelway says 
of the Scotch-Irish applies also to the Germans in Carolina. 
Their chief wealth was "in their own capacity to manufacture 
what they needed. When the goods brought with them began 
to wear out, the blacksmith built his forge, the weaver set up 
his loom, and the tailor brought out his goose. A tannery was 
built on the nearest stream and mills for grinding the wheat 
and corn were erected on the swift water courses. Saw mills 
were set up, and logs were turned into plank. The women not 
only made their own dresses but the material as well, spinning 
the wool and afterwards the cotton into lindsey and checks 
and dying it according to the individual taste. * In 

other words the people were an industrial as well as an indus- 
trious people." 5 

4 Smyth: A Tour in the United States of America, Vol. T, p. 214. 

5 The Scotch-Irish in North Carolina. (X. C. Booklet, Vol. TV. 
No. 11, pp. 15-16.) 


They were all farmers who owned few slaves and as a rule 
tilled the soil themselves. A traveller who had traversed the 
entire length of the State from Edenton to Wachovia makes 
this interesting observation: "The moment I touched the 
boundary of the Moravians, I noticed a marked and most fa- 
vorable change in the appearance of buildings and farms ; and 
even the cattle seemed larger, and in better condition. Here, 
in combined and well-directed effort, all put shoulders to the 
wheel, which apparently moves on oily springs. We passed in 
our ride New Garden, a settlement of Quakers from Nan- 
tucket. They, too, were exemplary and industrious. The gen- 
erality of the planters in this State depend upon negro labor 
and live scantily in a region of affluence. In the possessions 
of the Moravians and Quakers all labor is performed by the 
whites. Every farm looks neat and cheerful; the dwellings 
are tidy and well furnished, abounding in plenty." 

As a rule the English planters of the East called them- 
selves Churchmen. In 1765 Trvon wrote, "Everv sect of 
religion abounds here except the Roman Catholic, * 
though the Church of England I reckon at present to have 
the majority of all other sects." Its numerical superiority, 
however, was not the measure of its influence. The Church 
in North Carolina paid the penalty of all organizations which 
enjoy the legal support and patronage of government. Be- 
sides those who were Churchmen from religious convictions, 
the rolls of the Church included others, perhaps even more 
numerous, who called themselves Churchmen from political, 
business, or social reasons. Nominally members of the Estab- 
lishment, they were without serious religious convictions of 
any sort, and contributed nothing to the real welfare of the 
Church, to which their membership was rather a hindrance 
than an aid. On the other hand, those who became members 
of the dissenting denominations did so from genuine religious 
convictions and were fired with fervor and zeal in the propa- 
gation of their faith. Consequently the rejigious history of 
North Carolina in colonial times is of interest and significance 
less on account of the Established Church than for the growth 
and contributions of the dissenting denominations. 

The royal authorities were even more determined upon a 
legal establishment than the proprietary authorities had been. 
It was, indeed, difficult for statesmen of the eighteenth century 
to think of a monarchy without an established church; the 

Watson, Elkanah : Men and Times of the Revolution, p. 293. 


epigram of James I, "No bishop, no king," seemed to them 
to express the true relation between the Church and the State. 
Consequently we find that under the royal administration 
emphatic instructions were issued to each governor command- 
ing him to secure the necessary legislation for the support of 
the Church. Burrington failed in his efforts, not because of 
the influence of the dissenting interests, which were small at 
that time, but because of his utter inability to act harmoni- 
ously on any public matter with the representatives of the 
people. His successor, Johnston, was more successful. In 
1 739, Johnston reported that there were but two places in the 
province at which divine services were regularly held, and as 
a zealous Churchman he lamented "the deplorable and almost 
total want of divine worship throughout the province," which 
he thought was "really scandalous" and a reproach which the 
Assembly "ought to remove without loss of time." The As- 
sembly in 1741, therefore, passed a vestry act which proved, 
however, to be ineffective. In 1748 Governor Johnston wrote 
that "a Multitude of children are unbaptized" along the Cape 
Fear for "the want of a Minister [which] is very sensibly 
felt in that large District;" while about the same time Rev. 
James Moir declared that many people were becoming 
Baptists for lack of clergymen of the Church of England to 
minister to their religious needs. 

In 1754 Governor Dobbs secured a more satisfactory act, 
but the Crown repealed it by proclamation because it con- 
ferred the right of presentation upon the vestries. "This was 
the beginning," says Doctor Weeks, "of a triangular fight 
between Dissenters, democratic Churchmen, and supporters 
of the rights of the Crown. The ecclesiastical history of the 
next ten years is of interest chiefly because of the stubborn 
resistance to the enforcement of church laws by the Dissent- 
ers, the stubborn determination of the Churchmen to have 
an establishment with the right of presentation, and the steady 
opposition of the Crown to both parties." 7 The Crown re- 
pealed vestry acts passed in 1758, 1760, 1761 and 1762 on the 
ground that the right of presentation by vestries was "incom- 
patible with the rights of the Crown and the ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction." These quarrels were of course injurious to the 
real interest of the Church. They left the clergy without sup- 
port, and their number began to decrease. In 1764 Dobbs 
stated that there were only six orthodox clergymen in the 

7 Church and State in North Carolina, pp. 32-33. 


colony, "four of which," he added, "are pious and perform 
their duty." Under Try on and Martin the situation showed 
a marked improvement. The number of clergymen increased 
to eighteen ; the vestry act passed in 1764 for five years was 
renewed in 1768 for another five, and in 1774 for ten years, 
' ' the longest existence that ever was allowed to any vestry act 
in this province. ' ' Commenting on this renewal, Eev. James 
Reed, the missionary of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel at New Bern, said : ' ' I sincerely wish the period 
had been shorter, or indefinite for there is the greatest prob- 
ability that in ten years the dissenting interest will be strong 
enough to carry everything in the Assembly, and that the 
Vestry Act will then receive its quietus. ' ' But the vestry act, 
and with it the Established Church, was not to receive its 
"quietus" from the dissenting interests in the Assembly. 
Both went down along with other monarchical institutions, 
before the revolutionary movement of 1776, for when the con- 
vention of that year came to adopt a constitution for the 
newly independent State, Churchmen joined with Dissenters 
in inserting a section prohibiting the "Establishment of any 
one religious Church or Denomination in this State in Prefer- 
ence to any other. ' ' 

In 1760, Rev. James Reed lamented the fact that a ' ' great 
number of Dissenters of all denominations" had settled in 
North Carolina, mentioning especially Quakers, Presby- 
terians, Baptists and Methodists. First in point of time were 
the Quakers. Since the visits of Edmundson and Fox to North 
Carolina, the Quakers had grown rapidly in numbers. Prior 
to 1700 their efforts were directed chiefly to securing a foot- 
hold ; their growth came after that date. In the eastern sec- 
tion of the colony it was the result of expansion among the 
native population, in the back country it was due to immigra- 
tion. In 1729 Governor Everard attributed the growth of 
Quakerism to the absence of clergymen of the Established 
Church. Four years later, Governor Burrington gave another 
reason, — "the regularity of their lives, hospitality to 
strangers, and kind offices to new settlers," he wrote, "induc- 
ing many to be of their persuasion." To these causes maybe 
added the zeal of their missionaries who in 1729, wrote 
Everard, were "very busy making Proselytes and holding 
meetings daily in every Part of this Government." Doctor 
Weeks records the visits to North Carolina between 1700 and 
1729 of seventeen missionaries, three of whom were women. 

In 1700 the Society was confined largely to Perquimans and 


Pasquotank precincts. It began to cross the Albemarle Sound 
about 1703 and by the middle of the century had planted itself 
in many of the precincts of Bath County. When the colony 
was transferred to the Crown, the Quakers were "consider- 
able for their numbers, and substance." Under the royal 
government the Society continued to grow in Eastern Caro- 
lina, but not very rapidly. Missionaries came in, held meet- 
ings wherever they could secure a group of people, and or- 
ganized several monthly meetings. Monthly meetings were 
established in Carteret in 1733, in Dobbs in 1748, and in North- 
ampton in 1760. In Northampton and other counties border- 
ing on Virginia the growth was due chiefly to the overflow 
from Virginia, but in the other counties it was the natural 
expansion of the native element. "For as this country was at 
first settled in a great measure by Baptists and Quakers," 
wrote William Orr, a missionary of the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel, in 1742, "so their descendants (though 
they come to church now and then) yet they still retain, and 
are more or less under the influence of their Fathers' Prin- 

The planting and growth of Quakerism in the back coun- 
try was due not to expansion from within but to immigration 
from without. Quaker immigrants, chiefly from Pennsyl- 
vania, began to come about 1740 and soon spread over the 
territory now embraced in Alamance, Chatham, Guilford, 
Randolph, and Surry counties-. They were a strong and 
healthy race and their presence added to the population of the 
colony a stable element characterized by thrift, industry and 
energv. In 1751 the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting was organ- 
ized in what is now Alamance County. Three years later the 
famous New Garden Monthly Meeting, the mother of many 
others, was organized. From New Garden most of the meet- 
ings in that section of the State took their rise. Although 
the Quakers increased in numbers after the transfer of the 
colony to the Crown, comparatively they lost ground. Says 
their leading historian, Doctor Weeks: "The promise of an 
aggressive and rapid growth in the youth of Quakerism was 
not fulfilled in its maturer years. This promise was particu- 
larly clear in North Carolina. During the seventeenth century 
the records show that the Society in that colony was quietly 
but steadily extending its outposts and was being strength- 
ened by immigration and conversion. To such an extent was 
this true, that in 1716 Eev. Giles Rainsford writes to the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel that the 'poor 

Vol. 1—13 


colony of North Carolina will soon be overrun with Quakerism 
and infidelity if not timely prevented by your sending over 
able and sober missionaries as well as schoolmasters to reside 
among them.' But this almost phenomenal growth of the 
native element ceased soon after the Established Church be- 
came well organized. Quakers never played in North Caro- 
lina under royal government the part they had played under 
the government of the Proprietors. The Revolu- 

tion, like the Civil War, was a time of suffering to the Quakers. 
Many left their ranks and were disowned to take part in the 
struggle for liberty, and the Society was much depleted." 8 
"The Presbyterians," wrote Tryon in 1765, "are settled 
mostly in the back or westward counties," that is to say in 
the sections of the colony settled by the Scotch-Irish and 
Scotch-Highlanders. Presbyterianism as an organized reli- 
gion was introduced into North Carolina by the Scotch and a 
brief account of its introduction has been given elsewhere in 
this volume. The earliest Presbyterian settlements in North 
Carolina were those made in 1736 on the McCulloh grants 
in Duplin and New r Hanover counties. More than twenty 
years passed before a Presbyterian clergyman was regularly 
settled in the colony, but Presbyterian missionaries began 
to make periodical visits as early as 1742, and in 1744 sup- 
plications were sent from North Carolina to the Synod of 
Philadelphia. In 1755 came Hugh McAden, a truly great mis- 
sionary, who did more, perhaps, than any other person to 
establish Presbyterianism on a firm foundation in North 
Carolina. Traversing almost the entire length and breadth of 
the province, from the Catawba on the west to the Neuse and 
the Pamlico on the east, from the Roanoke on the north to the 
Cape Fear on the south, he visited places on the extreme fron- 
tier where not only "never any of our missionaries have 
been," but where the voice of a Christian minister had never 
before been heard, and preached in private houses, in court- 
houses, in churches and chapels, under the trees of the forest, 
wherever, indeed, he could gather tw r o or three together. 
Scotch, Germans and English, Presbyterians, Lutherans, 
Quakers and Churchmen, and "irregular" people who knew 7 
"but little about the principles of any religion," all flocked 
eagerly to hear him. He beP'an his great missionary tour in 
North Carolina on April 3, 1755 and brought it to a close on 

8 Southern Quakers and Slavery, pp. 124-25. 


May 6, 1756, and all along his route left Presbyterian com- 
munities firmly established. 

As a result of McAden's labors many supplications went 
up from North Carolina to the Synod of Philadelphia, In 
1757 came Rev. James Campbell, the first Presbyterian min- 
ister to serve a regular pastorate in North Carolina. He set- 
tled on the Cape Fear, a few miles above Cross Creek, where 
for a decade or more he served three churches. In 1758, Rev. 
Alexander Craighead, the first Presbyterian minister in West- 
ern North Carolina, accepted a call to Sugar Creek Church in 
what is now Mecklenburg County, and from 1758 to 1766, was 
the only minister in all the region between the Yadkin and the 
Catawba. Following McAden, Campbell and Craighead, came 
Henry Patillo, who in 1765 accepted a call to Hawfields, Eno, 
and Little River churches in Orange County; David Caldwell, 
more famous as a teacher than as a preacher, who in 1765 
became pastor of Alamance and Buffalo churches in Guilford 
County ; and others scarcely less distinguished in the religious 
history of North Carolina. In 1776 the Presbyterian churches 
of the Carolinas had been organized into the Orange Pres- 
bytery, with eight members in North Carolina and four in 
South Carolina. Foote records the names of eight ministers 
who were then regular pastors of Presbyterian congregations 
in North Carolina. 

Perhaps the most aggressive of the colonial missionaries 
were those of the Baptist faith. Individual Baptists were 
found in North Carolina as early as 1695, but whence they 
came, or in what numbers is not known. The first Baptist 
congregation organized in the colony was at Shiloh in what 
is now Camden County. It was organized by Paul Palmer in 
1727. Governor Everard writing in 17129, says : " Quakers and 
Baptists flourish amongst the No. Carolinians ow- 

ing to the want of Clergymen amongst us. Both 

Quakers and Baptists in this vacancy are very busy making 
Proselytes and holding meetings daily in every Part of this 
Government. when I first came here, there was no 

Dissenters but Quakers in the Government and now by the 
means of one Paul Palmer the Baptist Teacher, he has gained 
hundreds. " By this time too Joseph and William Parker had 
organized the Meherrin Church. Fired with missionary zeal 
and finding a fertile field for their work, the Baptists pushed 
it with vigor and success. In 1742 William Sojourner or- 
ganized the Kehukee Association in Halifax County, and 
from this center radiated influences which were quickly ex- 


tended into all the counties along the Roanoke from Bertie 
and Hertford on the east to Granville on the west, and as far 
south as Bladen Countv. In 1775 came Shubal Steam of Bos- 
ton, who erected a meeting-house on Sandy Creek in Guilford 
County. Under Steam's pastorship the congregation flour- 
ished, great crowds coming for many miles and from all direc- 
tions to hear him preach. Within less than three years the 
membership of his congregation had grown to more than nine 
hundred. By 1776 the Baptists had become a power in the 
colony, having established at least one church in every county. 
It is estimated that they then had forty congregations with 
many branches which afterwards developed into independent 

The introduction of the German Reformed, the Lutheran, 
and the Moravian churches into North Carolina was coinci- 
dent with the coming of German settlers. It is strange that, 
except the Moravians, none of these German immigrants, 
although of a deeply religious nature, brought regular pastors 
with them, and that many years passed before congregations 
were regularly organized and pastors installed. The Re- 
formed and Lutheran churches were closely allied and many 
of their early churches were union churches. Missionaries of 
course came and went, but it was not until 1768 that a regular 
German Reformed pastor came and not until 1773 that the 
Lutherans had a regular pastor. In 1768, Rev. Samuel Suther, 
a Reformed preacher, settled in Mecklenburg County. He was 
an indefatigable worker and to him is chiefly due the organiza- 
tion of most of the Reformed congregations prior to 1776. 
The mother churches of the North Carolina Lutherans are 
St. John's, established in 1768 at Salisbury, Zion, commonly 
called ''Organ Church," on Second Creek in Rowan County, 
and St. John's, founded in 1771, on Buffalo Creek in what is 
now Cabarrus County. "The pioneer minister of the Luth- 
eran Church in the province of North Carolina" was Adolphus 
Nussman, who came thither from Germany in 1773. Nuss- 
man was accompanied by J. Gottlieb Arndt who came as a 
schoolmaster, but on August 22, 1775, at "Organ Church," 
was ordained to the ministry. He was "the first Lutheran 
minister ever ordained in North Carolina." Suther, Nussman 
and Arndt worked in practically the same territory, from 
Mecklenburg and Rowan on the west to Orange on the east, 
ministering to Reformed and Lutherans alike. Unlike the 
other German settlers the Moravians brought ministers with 
them. First in the list of the twelve brethren who came in 


1753 to lay the foundations of the colony was Rev. Bernliard 
Adam Grube. The great obstacle of language, added to their 
position on the extreme frontier surrounded by the more ag- 
gressive Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, prevented the German 
churches from making any progress in North Carolina beyond 
the German settlements, so that they never became the force 
in the province to which their numbers and the character and 
intelligence of their membership might be thought to entitle 

The last of the great Protestant denominations to seek a 
foothold in North Carolina, prior to the Revolution, was the 
Methodist Church. "The Methodist preacher came not to rep- 
resent and build up a denomination, because at that time he 
belonged only to a society in the Church of England, but his 
mission was to preach the gospel to a lost and dying race." 11 
The most eminent of this type of the early preachers of Meth- 
odism to visit North Carolina was Rev. George Whitfield who 
came to the colony as early as 1739. Writing from Bath in 
1739 he said, "I am here, hunting in the woods, these ungospel- 
ized wilds, for sinners." Whitfield made several visits to 
North Carolina meeting always with a cordial reception from 
people, clergy and officials. When he preached at New Bern, 
in 1765, according to Rev. James Reed, who wrote eulogisti- 
cally of his sermon, people "came a great many miles to hear 
him:" while Governor Trvon declared that his sermon at 
Wilmington "would have done him honour had he delivered it 
at St. James' allowing some little alteration of circumstances 
between a discourse adapted for the Royal Chapel and the 
Court House at Wilmington." Whitfield, however, was still 
a communicant of the Church of England, and made no effort 
to establish a new organization. As early as 1760 there were 
people in the colony calling themselves Methodists, to whom 
the missionaries of the Established Church always refer with 
great bitterness; but Whitfield, during his visit in 1764, de- 
clared that they were improperly so called as they were fol- 
lowers neither of himself nor of John Wesley, and none except 
their followers were properly called Methodists. This view 
seems to be accepted by the best authorities on the history of 

The first Methodist preacher to come to North Carolina 
was Rev. Joseph Pilmoor who had been sent to America by 
John Wesley. Pilmoor came in 1772 and at Currituck Court- 

9 Grissom: History of .Methodism in North Carolina, Vol. T, p. 24. 


House, September 28, 1772, had "the honor of preaching the 
first Methodist sermon in the colony." On his tour through 
North Carolina he frequently preached in the chapels of the 
Established Church; and at Brunswick in January, 1773, he 
preached in St. Philip's Church to "a fine congregation." 
Pilmoor was followed by Rev. John Williams who, in 1773, 
organized the first Methodist Society in North Carolina. The 
following year he organized societies in "a six weeks circuit 
which extended from Petersburg (Va.) to the south over 
Roanoke River some distance into North Carolina." The 
early Methodist pioneers in North Carolina met with remark- 
able success. In 1775 as a result of their preaching a great 
revival swept over the northern section of the colony from 
Bute County eastward. A participant, writing about it, says : 
"My pen cannot describe the one-half of what I saw, heard, 
and felt. I might fill a volume on this subject, and then leave 
the greater part untold. " As a result of this revival 683 new 
members in North Carolina were reported to the Fourth Con- 
ference which was held at Baltimore, May 21, 1776, and a 
North Carolina circuit was established with Edward Drom- 
goole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Tatum as preachers. 
As their field of labor was unlimited, they penetrated great 
portions of the colony, and laid firmly the foundations of 
Methodism in North Carolina. 

By 1775 Churchmen were outnumbered by Dissenters who 
were a unit in opposition to the Establishment. Besides the 
principle of the Establishment itself, there were three features 
which accompanied it in North Carolina that were especially 
offensive to the dissenting denominations. They were the ap- 
plication of the principles of the Schism Act to North Caro- 
lina, the militia laws as they affected ministers of the Gospel, 
and the marriage law. Although the Schism Act had been 
repealed in England in 1719, Burrington was instructed to 
enforce it in North Carolina, and similar instructions were 
sent to his successors under the royal administration. The gov- 
ernor was to allow no person to come from England "to keep 
school" in North Carolina "without the license of the Lord 
Bishop of London," and to see that "no person now there or 
that shall come from other parts shall be admitted to keep 
school in North Carolina without your license first obtained." 
The militia laws exempted clergymen of the Established 
Church from militia duty, but not the ministers of any of the 
dissenting denominations until 1764 when exemption was ex- 
tended to Presbyterian clergymen who were "regularly called 


to any congregation." Both the Schism Act and the exemption 
features of the militia laws were offensive to Dissenters rather 
in what they implied than in their actual application. Only 
three instances are on record of efforts to enforce the former 
and while these are three too many, it should not be forgotten 
in estimating the importance of the Schism Act in our educa- 
tional history that they were the exceptions and not the rules. 
The militia laws, too, were too feebly enforced generally to 
work any hardship in practice on the dissenting clergy. 

The case of the marriage law, however, was different. It 
was a real grievance against which the dissenting clergy justly 
protested. By an act of 1666 magistrates were permitted to 
perform the marriage ceremony. The vestry act of 1715 con- 
tinued this authority to magistrates in parishes where there 
weremo ministers. In 1741 a special marriage law was passed 
which confined the right to perform the marriage ceremony 
to clergy of the Established Church, and where no such clergy- 
men were accessible to magistrates. This act chiefly affected 
the Presbyterians. It appears that in colonial times it was 
not the practice of Baptist ministers to perforin the marriage 
ceremony. Quakers followed their own customs. The Meth- 
odists came too late to be much affected by the act. The Pres- 
byterian clergy proteste;! against the injustice of it, refused 
to obey it, and performed the marriage ceremony without 
license or publication of the banns. By 1766 they had grown 
strong enough to secure a modification of the law. A new act 
was passed which legalized all marriages performed by Pres- 
byterian clergymen and permitting those who were ''regu- 
larly called to any congregation" to perform the ceremony. 
But even this act fell far short of justice, for it required that 
all fees should be paid to the minister of the Established 
Church in the parish in which the marriage occurred unless he 
had refused to act. Bitter protests arose from all dissenting 
denominations and petitions especially from the Presbyterian 
congregations, poured in upon the Assembly. In 1770, there- 
fore, the Assembly passed an act granting relief to the Pres- 
byterian clergy only, but the king disallowed it. Relief finally 
came from the people themselves. One of the ordinances 
adopted by the Convention of 1776 provided "That all regular 
ministers of the Gospel of every Denomination having the 
Cure of Souls shall be empowered to celebrate Matrimony ac- 
cording to the rites and ceremonies of their respective 
churches. ' ' 

The history of education is really a part of the history of 


religion in colonial North Carolina. Among Churchmen 
and Dissenters alike education was considered one of the func- 
tions of the church and most of the early teachers were either 
preachers or candidates for the ministry. The first attempts 
to establish schools in North Carolina were made under the 
patronage of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; 
its missionaries "brought with them the first parish or public 
libraries and its lay readers were the first teachers.' 1 Brickell 
whose work was published in 1737 says that the lack of ortho- 
dox clergymen in the colony was "generally supply 'd by some 
School-masters, who read the Lithurgy, and then a Sermon 
out of Doctor Tillitson, or some good practical Divine, every 
Sunday. These are the most numerous, and are dispersed 
through the whole Province." After the purchase of the pro- 
prietary interests b) T the Crown an effort was made, as has 
already been pointed out, to confine the privilege of teaching 
to communicants of the Established Church, but fortunately 
without success. The most recent of the historians of educa- 
tion in North Carolina holds the opinion that in spite of the 
attempts to apply the Schism Act, "the intellectual and educa- 
tional life of the colony was somewhat encouraged and as- 
sisted" by the establishment of the Church, and there is ample 
evidence to sustain his view. 10 The clergy of the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel were the first missionaries of 
education to North Carolina, and their letters to the Society 
are filled with earnest and persistent appeals for teachers as 
well as for preachers. 

There were probably schoolmasters in North Carolina prior 
to 1700, but the first professional teacher here of whom we 
have any record was Charles Griffin, a lay reader of the Estab- 
lished Church, who came from the West Indies in 1705 and 
opened a school in Pasquotank County. In 1708 his school 
was transferred to Rev. James Adams and Griffin removed to 
Chowan County where he opened a school. Governor William 
Glover bore testimony to Griffin's "industry" and "unblem- 
ished life. ' ' Even the Quakers patronized his school ; indeed, 
his association with them was so intimate that he became 
"tainted" with their principles and finally joined their Soci- 
ety. For this reason, probably, he lost his school in Chowan 
County; at any rate Rev. William Gordon reported that in 
1709 he "settled a schoolmaster [in Chowan], and gave some 
books for the use of the scholars, which the church-wardens 

10 Knight: Public School Education in North Carolina, p. 5. 


were to see left for that use, in case the master should re- 
move." Another of the early colonial teachers whose name 
has come down to us was "one Mr. Mashburn who," wrote 
Rev. Giles Rainsford in 1712, "keeps a school at Sarum on 
the frontiers of Virginia between the two Governments. 
What children he has under his care can both write 
and read very distinctly and gave before me an account of 
the grounds and principles of the Christian religion that 
strangely surprised me to hear it." We have abundant evi- 
dence that there were other schoolmasters in North Carolina 
contemporaneously with Griffin and Mashburn but unfortu- 
nately their names are unknown. 

Although teachers were scarce it would be an error to infer 
from that fact that the planters were either ignorant or illit- 
erate themselves, or indifferent to the education of their chil- 
dren. In 1716 Governor Eden was of the opinion that if the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel would furnish the 
teachers "the Inhabitants would willingly pay them the great- 
est part of their salaries. " Evidence in support of his opinion 
is found in the provisions made by the planters in their wills 
for the education of their children. "I will," declared Alex- 
ander Lillington, in 1697, "that my Executors carry on my 
Son, John, in his learnings as I have begun, and that All my 
Children be brought up in Learning, as conveniently can bee. ' : 
Thomas Bell, in 1733, desired that the profits from his estate 
be devoted to the education of a niece and nephew, "in as 
handsome and good a matter as may be." It was Edward 
Salter's wish, in 1734, that his son should "have a thorough 
education to make him a compleat merchant, let the expense 
be what it will. ' ' 

In infancy children were taught at home, or in the ele- 
mentary schools in North Carolina, but for their higher educa- 
tion they were sent to Virginia, New England, and to the Eng- 
lish and Scotch Universities. In 1730 George Durant directed 
that his son "should have as good Learing [learning] as can be 
had in this Government." Edward Moseley, in 1745, provided 
for the higher education of his children when it should become 
time for them to have "Other Education than is to be had 
from the Common Masters in this Province" adding, "for I 
would have my Children well Educated.' Stephen Lee di- 
rected that his son be educated either in Philadelphia or 
Boston, while John Skinner provided for the education of his 
son in North Carolina, "or other parts." John Pfifer of 
Mecklenburg County wished his children "to have a reason- 


able Education and in particular my said son Paul to be 
put through a liberal Education and Colleged." When Gov- 
ernor Gabriel Johnston died, in 1752, he left a legacy to a 
nephew "now at school in Newhaven in the Colony of Connec- 

In 1721 John Heeklefield desired that his son be e lucated 
"after the best thought manner this country will admit," 
There is ample evidence to show what was "the best thought 
manner" of education of that day. One of its outstanding fea- 
tures was religious instruction; boys and girls were trained 
in the teachings of Christianity. On the secular side emphasis 
was laid on practical or vocational education. William Standid 
desired his son to be taught "to read, rite, and cifer as far as 
the rule of three." Joshua Porter directed his executor to "see 
y l my Son and Daughter may be Carefully learnt to read and 
write and Cypher, and y l they may be duly Educated." Spe- 
cific directions were often given for the education of boys 
in the professions, commerce, and the trades, and girls in 
household duties. Thus John Baptista Ashe, in 1734, says : 
"I will that my Slaves be kept at work on my lands, and that 
my Estate may be managed to the best advantage, so as my 
sons may have as liberal an Education as the profits thereof 
will afford; and in their Education I pray my Executors to 
observe this method : Let them be taught to read and write, 
and be introduced into the practical part of Arithmetick, not 
too hastily hurrying them to Latin or Grammar, but after 
they are pretty well versed in these let them be taught Latin 
and Greek. I propose this may be done in Virginia; After 
which let them learn French, perhaps Some French man at 
Santee will undertake this; when they are arrived to years 
of discretion Let them study the Mathematicks. To my Sons 
when they arrive at age I recommend the pursuit and study 
of Some profession or business (I could wish one to ye Law, 
the other to Merchandize,) in which Let them follow their own 
inclinations. I will that my daughter be taught to write and 
read and some feminine accomplishments which may render 
her agreable ; And that she be not kept ignorant of what ap- 
pertains to a good house wife in the management of household 
affairs. " 

There were, of course, no free public schools, but the edu- 
cation of the poor, and especially of orphans was provided 
for in the apprenticeship system which the colonies inherited 
from England. Masters and guardians were required to give 
their wards the "rudiments of learning," and to teach them a 


trade or occupation. In 1695 the General Court of Albemarle 
County bound an orphan, "being left destitute," to Thomas 
Harvey, "the said Thomas Harvey to teach him to read;" and 
in 1698 another orphan was bound to Harvey and his heirs 
"they Ingagen to Learn him to Reed." The minutes of the 
court are full of such entries. The guardian, or master, was 
required to enter into bond for the faithful performance of 
his duty. There are also instances of legacies being left for 
the education of the poor. In 1710 John Bennett of Currituck 
directed "that forty Shillings be taken out of my whole Estate 
before any devesion be made to pay for y e Schooling of two 
poor Children for one whole year;" and that if he should fail 
of heirs, his estate ' ' to remaine and bee for y e use and bennefitt 
of poor Children to pay for their Schooling and to remaine 
unto y e world's End. " Since, however, there was no failure of 
heirs, the legacy never became available for educational pur- 
poses. Two more famous legacies to education were those of 
James Winwright of Carteret County, 1744, and James limes 
of New Hanover, 1754. Winwright left the "yearly Rents and 
profits of all the Town land and Houses in Beaufort Town," 
after the death of his wife, to be used "for the encouragement 
of a Sober discreet Quallifyed Man to teach a School at least 
Reading Writing Vulgar and Decimal Arithmetick " in the 
town of Beaufort, and set aside £50 sterling "to be applyed 
for the Building and finishing of a Creditable House for a 
School and Dwelling house for the Master." Unfortunately 
so far as known no school was ever established on the Win- 
wright foundation. Better use was made of the Innes legacy. 
Colonel Innes left his plantation called Pleasant Point, "Two 
negero Young Woomen, One Negero Young Man and there 
Increase," a large number of hogs, cattle and horses, his 
books, and £100 sterling "For the Use of a Free School for the 
benefite of the Youth of North Carolina." The legacy did 
not become available for educational purposes until after the 
Revolution. In 1783 the Assembly chartered the Times Acad- 
emy in Wilmington. 

A marked impulse was given to education by the coming of 
the Scotch-Irish and Germans. In every community where 
they settled a church and a schoolhouse sprang up almost 
simultaneously with the settlement. The German schools 
were taught by teachers who came from Germany and in the 
German language. Among the Scotch-Irish the influence of 
Princeton College was strong. Many of their religious lead- 
ers, and such lay leaders as Alexander Martin, Waightstill 
Avery, Samuel Spencer, Ephraim Brevard, Adlai Osborne, 


and William R. Davie, were Princeton graduates. To the 
Scotch North Carolina owes the establishment of her first 
classical schools, the development of which was so marked a 
feature of the educational history of the State during the first 
half of the nineteenth century. In 1760, Rev. James Tate, a 
Presbyterian clergyman, opened at Wilmington Tate's Acad- 
emy, the first classical school in North Carolina. During the 
same year, Crowfield Academy, said to have been the begin- 
ning of Davidson College, was founded in Mecklenburg 
County. The most noted of this class of schools was Rev. 
David Caldwell's school, founded near the present site of 
Greensboro in 1767. For many years, this famous "log col- 
lege," with an average annual enrollment of between fifty and 
sixty students, was the most important institution of learning 
in North Carolina, serving, as has been said, "as an academy, 
a college, and a theological seminary." 

It was in connection with the establishment of an insti- 
tution of higher learning, under the auspices of the Presby- 
terians, that occurred the most notable of the efforts to en- 
force the Schism Act in North Carolina, In January, 1771, 
the Assembly, acting upon the recommendation of Governor 
Try on, incorporated at Charlotte a school for higher learning 
called Queen's College. It was designed to enable such of 
the youth of the colony who had "acquired at a Grammar 
School a competent knowledge of the Greek, Hebrew, and 
Latin Languages, to imbibe the principles of Science and 
virtue, and to obtain under learned, pious and exemplary 
teachers in a collegiate or academic mode of instruction a 
regular or finished education in order to qualify them for 
the service of their friends and Country." The college was 
authorized to confer degrees. For its endowment a tax was 
levied on all spirituous liquors sold in Mecklenburg County 
for ten years. Since its patronage and support would come 
chiefly from Presbyterians, all of the incorporators, except 
two, were of that faith, but to forestall anticipated opposition 
in England, the president was required to be a member of 
the Church of England. In return for the timely aid he had 
received from the Presbyterian clergy and laity alike in the 
War of the Regulation, Tryon earnestly urged the king's ap- 
proval of the act; but the Board of Trade, while commending 
the principle of religious toleration, questioned whether the 
king ought "to add Incouragement to toleration by giving the 
Royal Assent to an Establishment, which in its consequences, 
promises great and permanent Advantages to a sect of Dis- 


senters from the Established Church who have already ex- 
tended themselves over that Province in very considerable 
numbers." The Board, therefore, advised that the act be dis- 
allowed, and the king vetoed it April 22, 1772. A year 
passed, however, before his action was certified to the gov- 
ernor, Josiah Martin, who had succeeded Tryon, and in the 
meantime Queen's College had opened its doors to students. 
In spite of the royal disallowance, it continued its work with- 
out a charter until the king's approval to acts of the North 
Carolina legislature was no longer necessary. In 1777 the 
General Assembly granted another charter in which the insti- 
tution's name was changed from Queen's College to Liberty 

Almost without exception these efforts to promote educa- 
tion w T ere made by the church. Except its efforts through 
the Established Church, the colonial government did prac- 
tically nothing for education. Governor Gabriel Johnston and 
Governor Arthur Dobbs both urged upon the Assembly the im- 
portance and duty of making "provision for the education 
of youth," but the Assembly did nothing until 1745 when it 
passed an act for the erection of a schoolhouse at Edenton 
which, however, was never built. Bills for the establishment 
of free schools introduced in 1749 and in 1752 failed of pas- 
sage. Finally in 1754 the Assembly appropriated £6,000 for 
the purpose of building a school, but afterwards used the 
money for the support of the French and Indian War. In 
1759, and again in 1764, Governor Dobbs petitioned the Board 
of Trade to permit an issue of paper money to replace this 
fund, and the Assembly, in 1759, requested that some of the 
money appropriated by Parliament to reimburse the colony 
for its expenditures in the war might be used for establishing 
free schools, but both requests were refused. The only legisla- 
tion that, bore any practical results were acts passed in 1766 
incorporating an academy at New Bern and in 1770 incorpora- 
ting an academy at Edenton. However, the agitation of these 
years in behalf of education had good results. Its fruit is seen 
in Section XLI of the Constitution of 1776, the foundation of 
our public school system of today, which provides: "That 
a school or schools be established by the Legislature, for the 
convenient Instruction of youth, with such Salaries to the 
Masters, paid by the Public as may enable them to instruct 
at low prices ; and all useful Learning shall be duly encouraged 
and promoted in one or more Universities." 

Two other indications of the intellectual standards of the 


people were the extent and character of their libraries and 
the position of the press among them. The first libraries were 
brought to the colony by the missionaries of the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel. They consisted chiefly of 
religious and doctrinal books, intended primarily for the in- 
struction of the people in the orthodox faith. About 1705, 
Rev. Thomas Bray established a. free public library at Bath. 
The books were so carelessly kept that in 1715 the Assembly 
passed an act "for the more effectual preservation of the 
same. ,; In 1728 Edward Moseley offered the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel a free public library for Edenton, 
but no evidence exists that his offer was accepted, and the 
books probably remained in his private library. James Innes 
left his library to the free school which he had endowed under 
his will. In the home of nearly every planter were to be found 
small libraries of good books. Their wills and inventories 
from early times show the existence of many such libraries 
numbering from 25 and 50 volumes to more than 500. Edward 
Moselev's library inventoried 400 volumes, Jeremiah Vail's 
230, Dr. John Eustace's 292, Rev. James Reed's 266, James 
Milner's 621. There w T ere many others similar to these. The 
library begun by Governor Gabriel Johnston and continued 
by his nephew Samuel Johnston at "Hayes" was probably 
the largest and most important library in the colony, con- 
taining more than 1,000 volumes. Most of the books in these 
libraries were treatises on theology, moral philosophy, law, 
history, and medicine and were in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Ger- 
man and French, as well as in English. In them were Xeno- 
phon, Homer, Ovid, Horace, Virgil, Sallust, Juvenal, Caesar, 
Puffendorf, Grotius, Coke, Blackstone, Montesquieu, Shakes- 
peare, Milton, Pope, Dryden, Gray, Voltaire, Bacon, Swift, 
Steele, Addison, Bunyan, Plutarch's "Lives," "The Complete 
Angler," Locke "On the Human Understanding," "Anti- 
dote Against Popery," "Tristram Shandy," "Tom Jones," 
"Letters of Abilard," Raleigh's "History of the World," 
The Spectator, The Tatler, The Annual Register, and many 
other similar works, all testifying to "a degree of culture not 
often believed to have existed in North Carolina in the eight- 
eenth century. " 1 1 

The press was late in coming to North Carolina and until 
long after the Revolution its influence was negligible ; indeed, 
except Georgia, North Carolina was the last of the thirteen 

"Knight: Public School Education in North Carolina, p. 11. 


colonies to receive the printing press. The absence of towns, 
the diffusion of the population over a vast territory, the lack 
of a regular post and means of communication, and, finally, 
the small demand for books and periodicals among the people 
generally made the maintenance of a press too precarious to 
invite capital. There was no popular demand for newspapers 
and except for the public printing there was not enough busi- 
ness in the colony to support a printing establishment. The 
first press in the colony, therefore, was set up and sustained 
by the patronage of the General Assembly. In 1749, in order 
to secure the printing of a revision of the laws, the Assembly 
chose James Davis public printer at an annual salary of £160 
proclamation money, and gave him a copyright on all govern- 
ment publications. Accordingly Davis set up his press at New 
Bern and began work June 24, 1749. In 1751 he issued 
Swann's Revisal, so called because Samuel Swann was chair- 
man of the commission which prepared it, the first book pub- 
lished in North Carolina. Because of the yellowish hue of 
the parchment in which it was bound it became popularly 
known as ''The Yellow Jacket." During his career as public 
printer, which extended over a period of thirty-three years, 
Davis issued several other revisions of the laws. In 1753 
he published Clement Hall's "Collection of Christian Experi- 
ences," which is "the first book or pamphlet so far as known 
to be compiled by a native of North Carolina." 12 

Davis was also the father of journalism in North Carolina. 
There was, of course, no popular demand for newspapers in the 
colony. Among the planters along the Cape Fear, The South 
Carolina Gazette, which had a correspondent at Brunswick, 
had a small circulation, while The Virginia Gazette served 
those along the Roanoke. In 1755 appeared the first issue of 
The North Carolina Gazette. It was published on Thursdays 
and bore the imprint: "Newbern: Printed by James Davis, 
at the Printing-Office in Front-street; where all persons may 
be supplied with this paper at Sixteen shillings per Annum: 
And where Advertisements of moderate length are inserted 
for Three Shillings the first week, and Two shillings for every 
week after. And where also Book-binding is done reason- 
ably." The Gazette was published for six years when it was 
suspended. In 1764 Davis began to issue the North Carolina 
Magazine, or Universal Intelligencer. How long this new 

12 Weeks: The Pre-Revolutionary Printers of North Carolina (A. 
C. Booklet, Vol. XV, No. 2. p. 112)'. 


venture continued is not known. In 1768 The Gazette was re- 
vived and continued for a decade. It was again suspended 
in 1778 because the printer's son, who was his chief reliance 
in the business, had been drafted into the army. 

The right of appointment of a public printer was one of the 
political issues in dispute between the governor and the 
Assembly. In 1761, on account of charges of neglect of duty 
brought by Dobbs against Davis, the Assembly appointed a 
committee to secure another public printer, and this com- 
mittee induced Andrew Steuart of Philadelphia to come to 
North Carolina. But the bill to appoint a public printer was 
defeated in the Council, whereupon Governor Dobbs ap- 
pointed Steuart "his Majesty's printer." The House of Com- 
mons took umbrage at this exercise of prerogative, declared 
that it knew of "no such office as his Majesty's printer," and 
denounced the appointment of Steuart as an act "of a new and 
unusual nature unknown to our laws" and "a violent stretcvh 
of power." It accordingly voted £100 to Steuart as compen- 
sation for his trouble and expense in coming to North Caro- 
lina and re-appointed Davis public printer. Steuart, who was 
the second printer in the province, settled at Wilmington 
where in September, 1761, he began the publication of The 
North Carolina Gazette and Weekly Post Boy. It had but a 
brief existence being suspended in 1767. The chief incident of 
interest in its history occurred during the resistance to the 
Stamp Act on the Cape Fear when the Cape Fear patriots 
compelled Steuart to issue his paper without the stamps re- 
quired by the law, a skull and bones appearing in the margin 
with the legend, "This is the Place to affix the Stamp." 

In 1769 Steuart was drowned in the Cape Fear River and 
his press was purchased by Adam Boyd. This "third and last 
of the pre-Revolutionary printers," says Doctor Weeks, "was 
not a printer at all. He was what we should call in this day 
a publisher." 13 In 1769 Boyd began the publication of The 
Cape Fear Mercury which he continued to issue until well 
into the year 1775. The Mercury is perhaps the most famous 
of the pre-Revolutionary papers of North Carolina because of 
its connection with the famous Mecklenburg Declaration con- 
trove l-sy. On August 8, 1775, Governor Josiah Martin de- 
clared in his "Fiery Proclamation" that he had "seen a most 
infamous publication in The Cape Fear Mercury importing to 

13 Pre-Revolutionary Printers of North Carolina (X. C. Booklet, 
Vol. XV. No. 2. p. 116). 


be resolves of a set of people stiling themselves a Committee 
for the County of Mecklenburg most traiterously declaring the 
entire dissolution of the Laws Government and Constitution 
of this country," and it was long thought that if a copy of 
this issue of The Mercury could be found it would settle the 
controversy by proving the authenticity of the Declaration of 
May 20th ; but when a copy was finally discovered it was found 
to contain the Eesolves of May 31st. The Mercury suspended 
publication soon after this issue. 

Vol. 1—14 



The transfer of Carolina from the Lords Proprietors to 
the Crown worked no important changes in the outward form 
of the machinery of government. Governor, Council, and As- 
sembly, as well as the systems for the administration of land, 
finance, defense, and justice, remained as they were. The 
Crown merely took the place of the Lords Proprietors as 
the immediate source of power. This meant that a single 
executive, capable of a sustained policy, had succeeded a 
many-headed executive, of constantly varying personnel and 
ever-changing policy ; that a tried and proven plan of admin- 
istration had displaced an experiment which had failed. The 
change made possible a stability of purpose, promptness of 
action, and vigor of administration of which the proprietary 
government was incapable. But while there was no change 
in the outward form of government, there' was a marked 
change in its purpose and spirit. The interests of the Lords 
Proprietors centered in dividends, those of the Crown in the 
development of the British Empire. Financial returns, there- 
fore, inspired the spirit of the one, imperial interests that of 
the other. Imperial interests required the subordination of 
local interests; the Crown, accordingly, as the source of the 
former, acted upon the theory that its authority in colonial 
affairs rested solely upon the royal prerogative, and under- 
took to conduct the colonial government through instructions 
which it held to be binding upon both governor and Assembly. 
Such, however, was not the view of the colonists. They held 
that the purchase by the Crown carried with it only such pow- 
ers as the Lords Proprietors had enjoyed ; that these powers 
were defined and limited by the charter of 1665 which guar- 
anteed to the people certain rights and privileges of which 
they could not be legally deprived ; and that the Crown was 
bound to administer the affairs of the colony in accordance 
with those guarantees. 







a ' 












These conflicting theories, together with conflicting im- 
perial and local interests, made harmony impossible. The 
Crown, on the one hand, intent upon the larger affairs of the 
Empire, was too prone to ignore the rights and interests of 
the colony; the colony, on the other hand, with its own af- 
fairs uppermost in its consideration, never really sought to 
understand and sympathize with the policy of the Crown. 
The result was inevitable. Controversies between the execu- 
tive department, which upheld the prerogative of the Crown, 
and the legislative department, which championed the rights 
and privileges of the people, characterize the political history 
of N^.rth Carolina as a crown colony. Was it the preroga- 
tive (i ^the Crown, or the right of the Assembly to determine 
how q, M rents should be paid? To fix the fees of public of- 
ficials? To control the expenditures of public funds? To 
erect precincts with the privilege of representation? To as- 
certain the quorum of the House of Commons? To determine 
the jurisdiction of the courts? Many of the controversies 
growing out of these questions were trivial in themselves, 
but behind them all lay the vital issue whether the colonial 
Assembly was to be a real legislative body, representative of 
the people, with the power of independent judgment and 
action, or whether it was to be reduced to a mere vehicle 
for registering the royal will, expressed through instructions 
to the governor, and unless these controversies are studied 
with this fundamental fact in view they lose most of their 
interest and all of their significance. 

The Crown purchased Carolina in July, 1729, but sent out 
no governor until February, 1731. During this year and a 
half, Sir Richard Everard continued to hold office by author- 
ity of his commission from the Lords Proprietors. But a 
commission from the Lords Proprietors had lost most of its 
virtue in North Carolina and Sir Richard himself no longer 
commanded that personal respect which might have proved a 
substitute for it. Consequently during that period a condi- 
tion bordering upon anarchy prevailed in the colony. The 
governor was utterly discredited. The Assembly held but 
one session and the Crown afterwards declared that to be 
illegal. The Council was suspended. The General Court 
was suppressed. Many of the precinct courts ceased to func- 
tion. The Admiralty Court — a crown court — having no re- 
straint on its actions, took advantage of the situation "to 
draw all manner of Business" to it, proceeding "in such an 
Extraordinary Manner as occasioned a General Discontent 


an,l Ferment among the People." Laws were unenforced. 
The public revenues were not collected. Corruption was rife 
in official circles. The governor, who had no other notions of 
government, it was said, than as it gave him power to act as 
he pleased, openly declared his contempt for the laws of 
the colony, enforced his will by arbitrary arrests and im- 
prisonments, demanded and took exorbitant fees, and ac- 
cepted from the Assembly "a present" of £500 for signing a 
bill emitting £40,000 of paper currency contrary to his in- 
structions. Nobody paid quit rents. Blank patents covering 
thousands of acres were issued and located for which no 
purchase money was paid. In a word, "the Province [was] 
in the greatest Confusion, [and] the Government had sunk so 
low that neither Peace nor Order subsisted." The Lords 
Proprietors complained of the Crown's delay in setting up 
an efficient government, declaring that not only their own 
personal affairs, but also those of the people "greatly suffer 
from the present unsettled conditions," and begged that either 
the transfer be expedited or else they themselves be restored 
to "the full and free exercise of all the powers granted" them 
by King Charles II. The people, too, grew impatient; they 
urged the recall of Governor Everard and the prompt settle- 
ment of the government upon a firmer basis. 

In seeking the removal of Governor Everard the people 
of North Carolina enacted the fable of the frogs who prayed 
for a king. They exchanged Sir Richard Everard for George 
Burrington. Burrington, it will be recalled, lost his place 
under the Lords Proprietors in 1725 because the Proprietors 
were persuaded that he contemplated stirring up a revolu- 
tion to compel them to transfer their property to the king. 
Where then should he be, when the transfer was actually 
made, but in London pressing upon the crown officials his 
claims to consideration. Success crowned his efforts. In 
January, 1730, he was notified of his appointment as first 
royal governor of North Carolina and a few days later re- 
ceived his commission. His commission was signed January 
25, 1730, but Burrington remained in England awaiting his 
instructions which were not completed until December 30th. 
In January, 1731, he sailed for North Carolina, arrived at 
Edenton February 25th, summoned such of his councillors 
as were within reach, and in their presence took the oath of 


Members of the popular party, with whom he had co- 
operated during his former administration, hastened to wel- 


come him. Some of them, notably John Baptista Ashe and 
Edmund Porter, he had selected as councillors. The Grarjd 
Jury "for the whole Province of North Carolina" declared 
that they accepted his appointment as "a very great in- 
stance" of the king's favor to the colony, and the General 
Assembly, in an address to the king, echoed the sentiment, 
declaring that they were in duty bound to acknowledge Bur- 
rington 's appointment "as a particular mark" of the king's 
indulgence. Burrington announced to the Assembly that in 
him they had a governor "that is entirely your Friend and 
Wellwisher;" and the Assembly expressing their "great 
pleasure" at his appointment felt "fully assured that we 
shall not want your best Endeavours to promote the lasting 
happiness of the People of the Province." But the leaders 
of the popular party soon found that the Burrington who 
needed their support in executing his designs against the 
Lords Proprietors was a different person from the Burring- 
ton who seeing his hopes fully realized was enjoying the 
fruits of his labors ; and the echoes of their exchange of 
courtesies were almost immediately drowned in an explosion 
produced by irreconcilable differences. 

The match to the powder was the governor's 19th instruc- 
tion, in which the Crown offered, upon two conditions, to re- 
mit to the people the back rents for which in the purchase 
of Carolina it had allowed the Lords Proprietors £5,000. 
These conditions were, first, that the Assembly pass an act 
requiring the registration of all landholdings in the colony, 
thus providing an accurate rent roll for the Crown; second, 
that all quit rents and officers' fees, which had previously 
been paid in "rated commodities," or in provincial currency, 
be paid in proclamation money. 1 The importance of this pro- 
posal will be appreciated when it is remembered that the 
people did not hold their lands in fee but as tenants of the 
Crown paying annual quit rents for their holdings. Assum- 
ing the Assembly's prompt and unquestioning obedience, Bur- 
rington had had prepared a bill carrying out the Crown's in- 
structions as to quit rents, and with the advice of his Coun- 
cil, had already fixed the fees of colonial officials in proclama- 
tion money and put them into effect by executive order. But 
the Assembly proved unexpectedly independent. It asserted 

1 "Current specie of foreiern coinage the value of which was 
ascertained and fixed in sterling monev by proclamation of the 
Crown."— Ashe. History of North Carolina." Vol. T. p. 229. At a 
h.ter date provincial currency was also so called. 


that the arrears of quit rents in North Carolina were too small 
to be a matter of any importance ; resolved that, since there 
was not enough specie in the province with which to pay quit 
rents and fees, "all such payments be made in some valuable 
commoditys, or in the Bills now currant in this Province at 
proper Rates;" and declared that the regulation of officers' 
fees was a matter for the legislative, and not the executive 
power. "For nearly twenty years," it said, "the Officers' 
fees have been paid in Paper Currancy at the Rates mentioned 
in the Acts of Assembly." But Burrington insisted that the 
king's instructions gave "the Governour and Council Power 
to regulate and Settle Fees" in proclamation money, thereby 
"repealing all Laws that declare Fees shall be received other- 
ways." This direct blow at the legislative power alarmed the 
House which resolved that by the charter of Charles II, the 
people of North Carolina were to "have, possess [and] en- 
joy all Libertys, Franchises, and Privileges" enjoyed by the 
people of England, among which was the guarantee "that 
they shall not be taxed or made lyable to pay any sum or 
sums of money or Fees other than such as are by Law estab- 
lished;" it therefore requested the governor to forbid the 
payment of fees in proclamation money "until such time as 
the Officers' Fees shall be regulated by Authority of As- 
sembly." This resolution was as a red flag to a bull. The 
Council condemned it as "a great invasion of his Majesties 
Prerogative;" Burrington declared it an "unreasonable com- 
plaint," and denounced its author as "a Thief that hides 
himself in a house to rob it and fearing to be discovered, fires 
the house to make his escape in the smoak. " 

Burrington attributed the opposition to his course to Eel- 
ward Moseley, who was not only speaker of the House but 
also public treasurer, and determined to destroy him. For 
this purpose, he brought out two more instructions, one for- 
bidding the paying out of any public money except upon 
warrant of the governor, thus depriving the Assembly of all 
control over the public funds, except the privilege of being 
"permitted from time to time to view and examine all ac- 
counts of money" disposed of "by virtue of laws made by 
them;" the other directing that all commissions issued by 
the Lords Proprietors be withdrawn and no public office be 
held except by a commission from the king. Burrington laid 
these instructions before the Assembly accompanied by a 
declaration of his purpose to appoint "a fitt person' 1 as 
public treasurer. The Assembly resented this fresh encroach- 


ment upon its rights and privileges, declarer! that no public 
money ought to be disbursed except as directed by the Gen- 
eral Assembly, i. e., the governor, Council, and House of 
Commons, and asserted that in fiscal affairs the Commons, 
"in Conjunction with the Governor and Council, hath a larger 
right than only to view and Examine Publick Accounts." 
Furthermore, it expressed the opinion that the other in- 
struction "doth not extend to officers appointed by Act of 
Assembly," as was the public treasurer, but only to those who 
held commissions from the Lords Proprietors; the governor, 
therefore, need not trouble himself to appoint a public treas- 
urer because that office was already filled by a person with 
whose "ability and integrity" the House was "very well sat- 
isfied," one, moreover, "who was appointed to that office in 
an Act of Assembly by the Governor, Council and Assembly 
and such an officer so appointed is not to be removed but by 
the like Power." To this open defiance of the king's instruc- 
tions the governor and his supporters in the Council could 
think of no better answer than to charge the House with try- 
ing "to create animositys and ferment divisions;" nor could 
they resist the temptation to take a fling at Moseley. They 
admitted that Moseley was "a person of sufficient ability" 
to be treasurer, and "heartily wished his integrity was equal 
to it." This insult to its leader drew a sharp reply from the 
House, which stood loyally by him, and Burrington's attack 
resulted merely in widening the breach between the two 
branches of the government. 

After his first Assembly, the governor determined not to 
hold another session until he could secure from his superiors 
in England confirmation of his instructions on the questions 
at issue. By successive prorogations, therefore, he prevented 
a session until July, 1733, when he was able to announce that 
the Crown adhered to its original instructions, and especially 
forbade his accepting quit rents and fees ' ' in any other specie 
but in proclamation money." The Assembly countered with 
the rejoinder that they too had consulted their "principals" 
who had "recommended nothing more earnestly to us than 
that we should not consent to burthen them with such pay- 
ments." So the quarrel flared up anew. The Assembly, in 
support of their contentions, having appealed to the Great 
Deed of Grant, were greatly perturbed to find its validity 
denied by the crown officials. But this merely added fuel 
to the flames. Neither side would yield. The representatives 
of the people would not obey the king's instructions; the rep- 


resentative of the Crown would not assent to anything short 
of complete submission. Round and round the circle both 
sides pursued the old arguments with wearisome iteration and 
reiteration, but with no results. 

In the ''several hot debates and messages" which passed 
between the Assembly and the governor, the Assembly was 
firm, but always calm and respectful. Burrington on the 
other hand was insolent, dictatorial, and abusive. "If the 
Kings Instructions are contrary to some Laws of this Prov- 
ince," he said, "the Governor must act in Obedience to the 
Kings Commands, therefore you must not be Surprized that 
whatever Your Law directs contrary to my Instructions is 
not taken Notice of [by] Me." The violence of the language 
in which he commanded a like obedience from the Assembly, 
and denounced all who opposed him, passed all bounds of 
reason and decency. Quit rents and fees, control of the pub- 
lic purse, the selection of a treasurer, the character of the 
present incumbent, and all other causes of controversy, dwin- 
dled into issues of secondary importance; the rights, the 
privileges and the dignity of the Assembly as a representa- 
tive body were at stake and the House resolved to maintain 
them at all costs. When the governor denounced the author 
of its resolution against the payment of fees in proclamation 
money as a thief, the House replied that the resolution "was 
the Unanimous Voice of the whole House, no one member dis- 
senting thereto," and resolved that the governor's message 
was a "great indignity and contempt put on the whole House, 
a Breach of Privilege, and tended to the deterring the mem- 
bers from doing their Duty." 

At the very beginning of the controversy, the popular 
party gained a point by creating a division in the Council. 
"I endeavoured all I could to prevent this madness," wrote 
Burrington, "but I cannot answer for the Follys and Pas- 
sions of Men.". John Baptista Ashe led the way, and by 
"false reasoning and fallacious arguments," won over Ed- 
mund Porter and William Smith, the chief justice. About 
the same time two other councillors, Nathaniel Pice and Jo- 
seph Jenoure, were called out of the province. Only Cor- 
nelius Harnett 1 and Robert Halton were lefl upon whom the 
governor could depend. "By this," Burrington complained, 
"Ashe, Smith and Porter gained their end for then my own 
vote made but an equality in the Council which obliged me 
to put an end to the session." This division in the Council 
was never cemented ; indeed, it grew wider for Harnett, too, 

i Father of the Revolutionary patriot of the same name. 


soon joined the governor's enemies. From that time until 
his recall, Burrington poured upon the heads of Ashe, Porter, 
Harnett and Smith such a flood of abuse and billingsgate 
as probably never before or since disgraced the official dis- 
patches of a public officer. Ashe was an "ungrateful" vil- 
lain, "altogether bent on mischief;" Porter "a man of most 
infamous character;" Harnett "a disgrace to the Council;" 
and "Baby" Smith, "a silly, rash boy, a busy fool and egre- 
gious sot, to which," continued the irate governor, "I must 
add that I know him to be an ungrateful perfidious scoun- 
drel." Smith resigned from the Council; Porter was sus- 
pen'ed; Harnett was driven out by the governor's abuse; 
and Burrington, in clear violation of his instructions, replaced 
them with two new councillors, John Lovick and Edmund 
Gale, whose votes were at his command. 

Burrington 's enemies refused to remain quiet under his 
attacks. They poured complaints in rapid succession upon 
the Board of Trade. They even raised funds to send Chief 
Justice Smith to England to prefer charges against the gov- 
ernor. But neither written complaints nor personal appeals 
contributed so much to Burrington 's downfall as his own dis- 
patches, which revealed but too plainly his unfitness for his 
office. The Board of Trade in replying to them, began with 
advice and ended with censure. They demanded that he ex- 
plain the opprobrious epithet which he had applied to Chief 
Justice Smith. They declared that while they would not ven- 
ture to pass judgment between him and Porter, they could 
not but observe that Porter had been "acquitted by the old 
Councillors and only condemned by those whom you have 
nominated for new ones." They disapproved his appoint- 
ment of the new councillors ; condemned his practice of voting 
on bills pending before the upper house, and censured his 
domineering attitude toward the Assembly. Smarting under 
their strictures, Burrington flung policy to. the winds, and 
gave full vent to his temper. More and more bitter grew 
his quarrels, more outrageous his conduct. Public business 
halted in the face of his private feuds. Three times he con- 
vened the Assembly, and three times prorogued it without 
securing the passage of a single act. Finally, in the summer 
of 1734, the Board of Trade determined to bear with him no 
longer, order his recall, and sent Gabriel Johnston to succeed 

Johnston took the oath of office at Brunswick, November 
2, 1734. He was a Scotchman of good birth and education. 


He bad studied at the University of St. Andrews in which 
he had afterwards lectured as professor of oriental languages. 
Early in life, abandoning literature for politics, he went to 
London to seek his fortunes as a political writer. There hf» 
attracted the attention of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wil- 
mington, and Lord President of the Privy Council, who ex- 
tended his patronage to him. It was through Compton 's in- 
fluence that Johnston was appointed governor of North Caro- 
lina. In learning, culture and character, he was superior to 
any of his predecessors. His learning, however, as Chalmers 
observes, "degenerated a little into cunning." No breath of 
scandal attaches to his personal conduct. He had not the itch- 
ing palm like Everard, nor was he given to profanity, vio- 
lence and drunkenness like Burrington. Indeed, so little did 
he seek to advance his own personal fortune that at his death 
his salary was thirteen years in arrears. But as governor, 
"he was exceedingly arbitrary, not to say unscrupulous, in 
his methods," and the ethics of some of his official acts were 
not above criticism. His experiences in British politics seem 
to have given him a predilection for sharp practices, or, as 
he termed it, "management," in political affairs. To secure 
the passage through the Assembly of a bill in which he was 
interested, for instance, he "prevailed" upon some of the 
"most troublesome" members to absent themselves; and at 
another time, with a similar object in view, he purposely 
convened the General Assembly when and where he knew his 
opponents could not attend. On the whole, he showed less 
consideration for the Assembly and a greater regard for the 
king's prerogative than Burrington, and was even bolder and 
more determined in carrying out his instructions. 

Johnston not only maintained all the positions taken by 
Burrington in the quit rents controversy, but also insisted that 
the king had a right to fix upon the places at which the rents 
must be paid. The Assembly, on the contrary, held that rents 
were payable on the land, and in support of their position 
appealed to "the Ancient Laws and usage" of the province. 
The governor's reply to their appeal injected into the con- 
troversy a new and startling issue. While in England seek- 
ing the removal of Burrington, Chief Justice Smith had dis- 
covered the order of the Lords Proprietors requiring that all 
acts of the General Assembly be submitted to them for con- 
firmation; otherwise they should expire at the end of two 
years. His investigations also revealed the fact that so little 
had this order been heeded, that of all the laws then in force 


in North Carolina, six only, and those of minor importance, 
had been thus confirmed. Bristling with importance at his 
discovery, he hastened to submit to the legal advisers of the 
Crown the question whether all the unconfirmed laws were 
not null and void. These officials had not rendered their de- 
cision when Smith returned to North Carolina, but he felt so 
certain that they would confirm his opinion, that he persuaded 
Governor Johnston and the majority of the Council to adopt 
it. Accordingly, when the Assembly appealed to the "Ancient- 
Laws" of the province, Johnston an 1 his Council replied that 
they could not pay "any regard" to them because having 
never been confirmed by the Lords Proprietors, they were all 
null and void. This reply brought forth a storm of angry 
protests. Passions ran high. In the heat of debate, Moseley 
and Chief Justice Smith came to blows. But the stanch old 
Scotch governor was undaunted by the tempest which raged 
about him. He boldly told the Assembly that the king was 
not dependent upon their consent for power to collect his 
rents, and "in order to convince the people that his Majesties 
just revenue did not depend upon any Acts of their Assem- 
bly," he issued a proclamation directing that quit rents be 
paid at specified places, and "in gold and silver," or in bills 
current at a rate of exchange for sterling to be fixed by the 
Council. To show his determination to carry out his policy, 
he erected a court of exchequer to collect rents by distress if 
necessary, appointed Eleazer Allen receiver-general for North 
Carolina, although that office for both Carolinas was already 
held by John Hammerton of South Carolina, and put the 
militia under the command of officers upon whose obedience 
and loyalty to him he could rely. At first the very boldness 
of his course resulted in "a general submission" to his orders, 
and he was able to report that in the autumn of 1735, the col- 
lections amounted to £1,200 sterling, at the same time pre- 
dicting that the spring collections would be double that 

But Johnston's optimistic predictions failed to be realized. 
"General murmurs" of opposition soon began to be heard. 
John Hammerton, indignant at the governor's action, has- 
tened into North Carolina, publicly denounced the appoint- 
ment of Eleazer Allen as illegal, and "had the impudence" 
to issue a proclamation forbidding the payment of rents to 
him. Still more potent was the influence of Edward Moseley, 
who not only refused to pay his own quit rents, but urged the 
people to follow his example. To him Eleazer Allen attrib- 


uted "all the difficulty s and obstructions which had attended 
the several collections of the quit rents." The murmurs 
quickly grew into loud protests and threats of violence. At 
a report, fortunately false, that a man had been imprisoned 
at Edenton for refusing to pay his rents, 500 men in Bertie 
and Edgecombe rose in arms and set out to rescue him by 
force, "cursing his Majesty and uttering a great many rebel- 
lious speeches." Complaints poured into the General As- 
sembly that the collectors were exacting payments in cur- 
rency at rates of seven and eight for one of sterling, to which, 
when resorting to distress, they added "extravagant 
charges." Against these "illegal proceedings," the Assem- 
bly protested, but in vain. Thereupon, catching something of 
the governor's spirit, they answered his bold challenge with 
a challenge even more daring, — they ordered the collectors 
of the king's revenue into the custody of their officers! 

It was in just such an emergency that Johnston revealed 
his superiority to Burrington in statecraft. Burrington 
would have met it with bluster accompanied by a volley of 
oaths and a torrent of curses ; Johnston, on the contrary, re- 
sorted to what he euphemistically called "management." One 
of the questions on which he had taken issue with the As- 
sembly was the validity of blank patents, i. e., patents for 
land in which the date, the name of the patentee, the loca- 
tion of the land, the number of acres, and the amount of the 
purchase money were all or in part left blank. Many such 
patents had been issued after the Lords Proprietors had 
closed their Carolina land office, and as Johnston said, were 
"hawked about the country" in large numbers, the pur- 
chasers locating their lands and filling in the blanks as they 
pleased. Johnston held such patents invalid and as thou- 
sands of acres, estimated at nearly half a million, were held 
under them, his contention aroused intense opposition. Find- 
ing himself checkmated in his efforts to collect quit rents, he 
proposed to yield his position on blank patents if the Assem- 
bly would recede from their position on quit rents. A bargain 
was promptly struck. The governor agreed to confirm titles 
held under blank patents; the Assembly consented to pre- 
pare a rent roll and to limit the number of places at which 
quit rents should be payable. Both sides yielded somewhat on 
the medium in which rents should be paid, the governor con- 
senting to accept certain rated commodities, or their value 
in provincial currency, the Assembly consenting that the 
value of provincial currency should be fixed by a commission 


consisting of the governor and representatives from the 
Council and the House of Commons. In 1739, a bill embody- 
ing these provisions passed both houses of Assembly, was 
promptly signed by the governor, and both governor and As- 
sembly congratulated themselves and each other that the 
long dispute was at an end. 

But their congratulations were premature. The Crown 
vetoed the act on the ground that vesting the power to regu- 
late the value of money "in any person whatsoever, might 
be of dangerous consequence, and highly prejudicial to the 
trade of the nation." At the same time Johnston suffered 
another defeat for the law officers of the Crown decided 
against him in all of his contentions relative to the Great 
Deed, how and where quit rents were payable, and the validity 
of the provincial laws which had not been confirmed by the 
Lords Proprietors. With his position greatly weakened by 
these defeats, he again took up the controversy with the As- 
sembly. In 1741 he called the session, as he wrote, "in the 
most southern part of the Province on purpose to keep at 
home the northern members who were the most numerous 
and from whom the greatest opposition was expected," but 
to no purpose. Similar failures met him in 1744, 1745, and 
1746. Finally, in 1748, he secured the passage of an act 
which satisfied him. 

By this time questions concerning the king's quit rents 
had lost much of their interest and importance by the crea- 
tion of the Granville District which transferred half the land 
in the province and more than half the revenues arising from 
the land, from the king to a private proprietor. It will be 
remembered that when the Lords Proprietors surrendered 
their charter to the king in 1728, John Lord Carteret, after- 
wards Earl of Granville, decided to retain his interest in the 
soil. No steps however were; taken to lay off his share until 
1742. Acting then upon the advice of the Board of Trade 
the king decided that Granville was entitled to one-eighth of 
the original grant which embraced nearly all the region be- 
tween the northern boundary of North Carolina and the south- 
ern boundary of Georgia as far west as the South Sea. In 
1742, therefore, he directed that five commissioners represent- 
ing the Crown and five representing Granville be appointed 
with full authority to locate and set out Granville's claim. 

In their work the commissioners seemed to consider Lord 
Granville's interests paramount to those of either king or 
colony. It was manifestly fair that the burdens incident to 


the creation of this immense private estate should be shared 
on some just basis by all of the three colonies, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia, which had been erected out of 
the original proprietary; nevertheless in order that Lord 
Granville might enjoy the advantages of having his estate in 
a solid tract the commissioners decided to cut the whole of it 
out of North Carolina. An important consideration with 
them in making this decision was the fact that by adopting the 
North Carolina-Virginia boundary line as the northern line of 
the Granville District, they would have to run the southern 
line only. Beginning, therefore, on Hatteras Island at 35° 34' 
north latitude, they carried the line in 1744 as far west as 
Bath. In 1746 it was carried to Haw River, thence twentv 

7 *" 

years later to Rocky River, and finally, in 1774, to the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. It ran through the site of the present town 
of Snow Hill, followed what is now the southern boundary of 
Chatham, Randolph, Davidson, Rowan, and Iredell counties, 
and fell just below the southern line of Catawba and Burke 
counties. Between it and Virginia lay an immense region, 
sixty miles in width, embracing about 26,000 square miles of 
territory, one-half the present state of North Carolina, and 
containing in 1744 more than two-thirds of the inhabitants 
and an even larger percentage of the wealth of the province. 

Throughout this vast region, Lord Granville, though pos- 
sessing no political authority, was virtually the irresponsible 
ruler over the property rights of the people for the territorial 
system which he set up was beyond the control of either Crown 
or Assembly. For the administration of his estate he main- 
tained a land office at Edenton with a large organization includ- 
ing agents, surveyors, entry takers, and numerous subordinate- 
officials. The inefficiency and corruption of these officials, un- 
restrained by any watchful authority, soon became a public 
scandal. Granville himself was a victim of their frauds and 
abuses, but the chief victims were his tenants. They suffered 
from the exaction of excessive fees, the collection of illegal 
quit rents, and the issuance of fraudulent grants. In 1755 
the Assembly's committee on propositions and grievances re- 
ported such practices of Granville's agents as grievances 
which "do retard the Settlement of that part of the Govern- 
ment of which his Lordship is proprietor.' 1 During the next 
few years the abuses grew with such rapidity that in 1758 
Granville's tenants petitioned the Assembly for relief. The 
Assembly appointed a committee to investigate the charges 
and this committee after a thorough investigation made a 


report which attests not only the dishonesty but also the re- 
sourcefulness of the agents in devising schemes to defraud the 
settlers. Some of their practices were the issuing of grants 
for the same tract by the same agent to more than one person ; 
the issuing of grants for the same tract by different agents to 
different persons ; the bribing of officials to change the names 
of grantees in the entry-book and to issue to other parties 
deeds for land for which the original grantee had already paid 
the entry fees; the issuing of grants improperly signed, and 
therefore void, so that later they might issue the same grants 
to other persons, of course collecting fees from all of them; 
and, finally, the collection of excessive fees and quit rents. 
The fees in the Granville District, according to Governor 
Dobbs, were double, and sometimes treble, the fees of the 
Crown in the rest of the province, and while the king's fees 
were paid in paper currency, Granville's agents would accept 
no payments except in gold and silver. In spite of these un- 
doubted frauds and abuses the Assembly was powerless to 
grant the relief sought and could do nothing more than send 
a remonstrance to Lord Granville. 

It must not be supposed that Granville was privy to these 
practices or indifferent to the complaints of his tenants. In 
1756 he wrote to his agent, Francis Corbin: "Great and fre- 
quent complaints are transmitted to me of those persons you 
employ to receive entries and make surveys in the back coun- 
ties. It is their extortions and not the regular fees of office 
which is the cause of clamor from my tenants. Insinuations 
are made, too, as if those extortions were connived at by my 
agents ; for otherwise, it is said they could not be committed so 
repeatedly or so barefacedly." Of course none of the excess 
fees found their way into his coffers ; indeed, he would have 
been fortunate if he had received those to which he was legally 
entitled. It was said that one of his agents on going out of 
office advised his successor to remember the proverb of the new 
broom, and not to remit too much to the earl at first as equal 
remittances would be expected in the future ; besides, what was 
more to the point, such a mistaken policy might lead to investi- 
gations that would prove awkward to former agents. The 
trouble was not with Lord Granville ; it was with the system 
which enabled a private individual to exercise so much control 
over the fortunes and happiness of people with whom he had 
no sort of sympathetic connection. 

Finding the Assembly powerless and despairing of relief 
from Lord Granville, the people finally took matters in their 


own hands. One result of their complaints had been an order 
from Granville to Corbin to publish his table of fees which re- 
vealed abundant evidence of systematic abuses and frauds and 
led to demands upon the agents to disgorge their illegal gains. 
In the winter of 1759 an armed mob surrounded Corbin 's house 
in Edenton, aroused him in the dead of night, compelled him 
to go with them to Enfield, seventy miles distant, and there 
exacted of him a bond in the sum of £8,000 that he would within 
three weeks ' time exhibit his books for inspection and refund 
all excess fees. But after his release, instead of complying 
with his agreement Corbin inspired prosecutions against four 
of his assailants and upon their refusing to give bail had 
them thrown into prison at Enfield. This act was the signal 
for an explosion. From all the surrounding country armed 
settlers rode into Enfield, broke open the jail, overpowered the 
jailer, released the prisoners, and inaugurated a reign of law- 
lessness throughout a large part of the Granville District. 
Corbin abandoning his prosecutions fled in terror. Some of 
the sheriffs were openly in sympathy with the mob and the 
attorney-general, Robin Jones, was so thoroughly intimidated 
that he refused to prosecute the rioters and appealed to the 
governor to take action. The Assembly urgently supported 
his appeal, but the governor refused to move and in his turn 
became a target for the Assembly's denunciation. In defend- 
ing himself to the Board of Trade against the strictures of 
the Assembly, Dobbs denounced the dishonesty of Granville's 
agents, expressed his sympathy with the people, and declared 
that their conduct had been grossly misrepresented and exag- 
gerated. The riot, therefore, was never suppressed by legal 
procedure, the rioters went scot free, and conditions in the 
Granville District continued volcanic until the proprietorship 
was abolished. 

Throughout its history the Granville District was a source 
of discord, weakness and division in the colony. For many 
of the most important affairs of its inhabitants, it was almost 
a province within the province. Its existence was the cause of 
numerous controversies over the location and boundaries of 
the grants of other large landoAvners, and even of grants issued 
by the Crown. With that indifference to former grants so 
characteristic of colonial officials, the commissioners had in- 
cluded within the Granville District nearly 500,000 acres of 
the McCulloh grant, and while Granville and McCulloh them- 
selves had little difficulty in adjusting their conflicting claims, 
their agreement did not prevent constant friction between 

Vol. 1—15 


their agents and surveyors. There were clashes too between 
the agents of Granville and those of the Crown. The former 
charged Governor Dobbs with issuing grants for land within 
the Granville District while Dobbs retorted that Granville's 
line encroached for a depth of at least nine miles upon the 
king's land. These disputes and conflicts kept the frontier in 
a state of continual disorder and tended to discourage the 
immigration of substantial settlers. Many less desirable im- 
migrants, taking advantage of the situation, squatted on lands 
along the border between the king's district and that of Lord 
Granville without taking out grants and without paying quit 
rents. Under such conditions it was impossible to instill into 
them that respect for law which is the foundation of free gov- 
ernment. The colony also suffered from the utter indifference 
of the second Lord Granville, who succeeded to the title in 1763, 
to his Carolina estate. He allowed his land office at Edenton 
to remain closed for several years, thus depriving North Caro- 
lina of many excellent settlers who would have taken out 
grants within his district. 

'Financially, too, the Granville District was a great draw- 
back to the colony. Quit rents derived from the land in this 
immense region went not into the public treasury but into 
the pockets of a private individual, or of his corrupt agents. 
Thus a large part of the revenues from the richest and most 
populous half of the colony were used for other purposes than 
support of the government. Consequently the burden fell so 
much more heavily upon the poorer half. This fact had no 
little to do with the stubbornness of the Assembly in holding 
out against the king's instructions relative to a permanent 
civil list. 

The dual territorial and fiscal system made necessary by 
the existence of the Granville District was a source of division 
and weakness in North Carolina. The province was neither 
an economic nor a political unit. A northern and a southern 
treasurer were necessary. There was a northern and a south- 
ern party. To these divisions of interests primarily may be 
traced the controversy over representation which wrecked 
Governor Johnston's administration. These different inter- 
ests continued throughout the colonial period. As late as 
1773, on the very eve of the Revolution, Governor Martin com- 
plained that the Granville District created a division in the 
colony which for many years had ''fatally embarrassed its 
Politics.' 1 Considering the whole historv of the Granville 
District, therefore, Martin was fully justified in declaring 


that it was "not only profitless to the Proprietor, but a nui- 
sance to this Colony." 

Governors, Assembly, and people were all agreed not only 
as to its baneful effects, but also as to the proper remedy for 
its evils. The remedy was purchase by the Crown. In 1767 
Governor Tryon declared that its purchase by the Crown 
1 i would more than treble the value of the quit rents : ' ' that it 
was "an object so extremely coveted, to a man, by the inhabi- 
tants settled there" that it would no doubt result in the pas- 
sage of "any law his Majesty would propose lor the better 
and more easy collecting his quit rents." "If it could be pur- 
chased for sixty thousand pounds sterling," he added, "it 
would be cheap ; it is certainly the most rising interest on the 
continent of America." To like effect wrote Governor Martin 
who in 1771 said, "It seems here an universally acknowledged 
principle that this Country will never enjoy perfect peace 
until that proprietary which erects a kind of separate inter- 
est in its bowels is vested in the Crown." The Assembly too 
was of the same mind. In 1773 the House of Commons ap- 
pointed a committee, composed of its strongest leaders, "to 
take into consideration Lord Granville's Territory in this 
Province, with respect to the settlement of the same, and to 
propose some plan to quiet the Inhabitants in their posses- 
sion." The plan proposed and agreed to by the Assembly 
was to request the king to "be graciously pleased to purchase 
the same, that the said Lands may be held of him as other 
Lands are held of his Majesty in his District in this Colony. ' ; 
But nothing came of these suggestions; the Revolution came 
on, independence was declared, and Lord Granville being then 
an alien enemy, the Assembly in 1782 solved the problem of 
the Granville District by the short and effective method of 

The creation of the Granville District in 1744 was an im- 
portant element in enabling Governor Johnston to secure the 
passage of the quit rent law of 1748, but a more important 
element still was the representation quarrel inaugurated by 
the Assembly of November, 1746, which threw the quit rent 
controversy completely in the shade. The most determined 
opposition to the governor in the quit rents controversy had 
come from the inhabitants of the old county of Albemarle who 
claimed to hold their land under the Great Deed of Grant. 
The Great Deed gave them better terms than the Crown was 
disposed to allow and they wore determined not to surrender 
their advantage. Another advantage which they enjoyed en- 


abled them to sustain their position. This was the- right wiiich 
each precinct in Albemarle had of sending to the General As- 
sembly five representatives, whereas the other precinct? sent 
but two each. This privilege originated early in the propri- 
etary period when Albemarle was the only count}' in Carolina, 
and was not extended to the precincts which were subsequently 
erected in Bath County. 

As these new precincts grew in wealth and population they 
came to look upon this inequality as a discrimination against 
them, while the expansion of the colony southward toward the 
Cape Fear gave rise to sectional interests different from the 
interests of Albemarle, which served to emphasize it. The 
commercial interests of the Cape Fear settlers, who enjoyed 
the advantage of direct trade with the mother country, often 
conflicted with those of Albemarle, whose trade necessarily- 
went through Virginia and the other colonies, and legislation 
in the interests of one section was frequently considered ruin- 
f ous "by the other. Personal ambitions and sectional rivalries 
also increased the dissatisfaction of the southern precincts. 
New Bern was ambitious to displace Edenton as the seat of 
^government, and her pretensions were supported by the pre- 
cincts south of Albemarle Sound. The people in the southern 
precincts, especially those along the Cape Fear, complained 
that it was a hardship to compel them to go to Edenton, in the 
extreme northeastern corner of the province, across two wide 
sounds, in order to consult the public records in the secretary's 
^office, to transact business in the General Court, and to attend 
isessions of the General Assembly. But all their efforts to 
move the capital to a more central place were defeated be- 
cause the counties north of Albemarle Sound had a majority 
in the Assembly. The controversy came to a head in June, 
1746, when the proposal to make New Bern the capital was 
again defeated, and the session closed with a sectional quarrel 
that split the popular party in two. In this division, the 
shrewd politician at the head of the government saw his op- 
portunity and hastened to make the most of it. 

Making common cause with the southern members, John- 
ston prorogued the Assembly to meet in November at ^Wil- 
mington, expecting that so many northern members would re- 
fuse to attend at that season and at such a distance, that the 
southern members would control the House. In fact, the for- 
mer had openly declared that, because of the inclemency of the 
season and the difficulties of travel, they would not attend a 
winter session at Wilmington. Since they composed a ma- 


jority of the House, they of course expected that no session- 
could be held without them. But in this they reckoned with- 
out their host, for they could not foresee that Samuel Swann,. 
John Starkey, and other southern leaders, for the sake of a 
petty sectional advantage and at the behest of a royal gov- 
ernor, would surrender one of the most cherished principles 
of the popular party, namely, that no number less than a ma- 
jority should be considered a quorum of the House of Com- 
mons. Yet this is just what they did. With only fifteen mem- 
bers in attendance, out of a total membership of fifty-four. 
Speaker Swann declared a quorum present and notified the 
governor that the House was ready for business. The busi- 
ness of the session was cut and dried. But two bills were con- 
sidered, one making New Bern the capital and regulating 
circuit courts, the other reducing the representation of the 
Albemarle counties 2 from five to two members each. Johnston 
hastened to dispatch the two acts to England for approval, 
saying: "I have got a law passed for fixing the seat of Gov- 
ernment at Newbern, and a tax laid for Public Buildings. 
There was only one other law passed then, viz., an Act for 
ascertaining the number of representatives for each County, 
the inequality of which has been one great source of the Dis- 
orders of this Colony. ' : Not a word about the revolutionary 
method by which the two bills were passed through the As- 
sembly ! 

But the northern counties were not so reticent. They pro- 
tested loudly against the trick of which they were the victims, 
denounced the whole proceedings as a fraud, and solemnly 
agreed that they would not recognize the validity of the pre- 
tended acts of the rump Assembly. Accordingly, when the 
governor issued writs for a new Assembly to meet in Febru- 
ary, 1747, and directed the northern counties to return but 
two members each, the people refused obedience and in each 
county chose five as usual. The House, of course, promptly 
declared the elections null and void, threw out the returns, 
and directed that new elections be held. Thereupon the north- 
ern counties appealed to the king. A long and bitter contro- 
versy followed. Three issues were presented, viz. : the right 
of the northern counties to five members each ; the number of 
representatives necessary to constitute a quorum of the 
House ; and the validity of the act complained of. The gov- 
ernor, assisted by certain of his councillors, presented the case 

2 In March, 1739, Albemarle and Bath counties were abolished and 
their subdivisions, theretofore known as precincts, became counties. 


for the southern counties; Wyriott Oraiond and Thomas 
Barker, prominent attorneys, represented the northern coun- 
ties. Both sides argued their contentions with skill and abil- 
ity. The governor contended that the only basis for the claims 
of the northern counties was the Biennial Act of 1715 which 
the king had repealed in 1737. The northern counties, on the 
other hand, traced their claim back to the Fundamental Con- 
stitutions and the unbroken practice of the colony under the 
Lords Proprietors. By careful searching of the records, by 
numerous depositions as to what practice had been followed, 
and by hearing long and tedious arguments, the crown offi- 
cials sought diligently and impartially to arrive at a correct 
decision. The main point, i. e., the right of the northern coun- 
ties to five members each, they decided in favor of the north- 
ern counties; they thought, however, that a majority was not 
necessary for a quorum, saying that "such a constitution is 
very extraordinary and liable to great inconvenience"; never- 
theless, as the act in question had been "passed by manage- 
ment, precipitation and surprise," they advised the king to 
veto it. 

Eight years passed between the appeal and the decision, 
years of confusion, rebellion and almost of anarchy through- 
out the northern half of the province. The first election held 
under the act of 1746 had given the governor an Assembly 
amenable to his will and he determined to hold it together as 
long as possible. Elected in 1747, it held thirteen sessions, 
and was not dissolved until 1754, after Johnston's death. 
During these years the northern counties refused to send rep- 
resentatives to the Assembly. They denied the constitutional 
authority of an Assembly in which they were not allowed 
their full representation. They held its acts to be null and 
void. They would not use the currency emitted by its author- 
ity. They refused to pay taxes. They declined to serve as 
jurors in the General Court organized under the act of 1746, 
or to submit to its judgments. In a word, as Bishop Spang- 
enberg wrote in 1752, throughout the northern counties there 
existed "a perfect anarchy. As a result, crimes are of fre- 
quent occurrence, such as murder [and] robbery. But the 
criminals cannot be brought to justice. The citizens do not 
appear as jurors, and if court is held to decide such criminal 
matters no one is present. If any one is imprisoned the prison 
is broken open and no justice administered. In short, most 
matters are decided by blows. Still the county courts are 
held regularly and what belongs to their jurisdiction receives 


customary attention." The last statement throws a flood of 
light on this curious situation. The people would not submit 
to the jurisdiction of the General Court because it was held 
under authority of an act passed by the rump Assembly of 
November, 1746, nevertheless they maintained their county 
courts in full vigor and cheerfully submitted to their decrees 
because they were held under the long established laws of the 

Governor Johnston, dying in 1752, did not live to see the 
end of the controversy which his "management" had fast- 
ened on the province. After a brief interval, during which 
first Nathaniel Rice and then Matthew Rowan, as presidents 
of the Council, administered the government, Arthur Dobbs 
was appointed governor. Dobbs was the head of an ancient 
family in Carrickfergus, Ireland. He had had a varied and 
not undistinguished career, having served as high sheriff of 
County Antrim, as representative of Carrickfergus in Parlia- 
ment, and as surveyor-general of Ireland. But he was best 
known for his interest in Arctic explorations ; he had even 
made an attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, and had 
written treatises on the subject. His interest in North Car- 
olina began with the purchase of the colony by the Crown. 
As early as 1733 he was a member of a syndicate which pur- 
chased 60,000 acres in New Hanover precinct upon which the 
companv settled a colonv of Irish Protestants. He also had 
other landed interests in North Carolina. It was doubtless 
this connection with the colony that suggested his appoint- 
ment as governor. 

It was an unfortunate selection. Without the energy and 
ability of Burrington, lacking Johnston's force of character 
and political shrewdness, Dobbs entertained more exaggerated 
ideas of the prerogative of the Crown and less tolerance for 
the constitutional claims of the Assembly than either. At 
sixty-five years of age, he was too old to adapt himself to the 
strange conditions of a new country and too infirm to grapple 
successfully with the difficult problems of colonial administra- 
tion. During the decade covered bv his administration, these 
difficulties increased as year by year his capacity to cope with 
them diminished. Says Saunders in his admirable analysis 
of Dobbs' character, "his mental faculties, probably never 
very great, weakened and finally gave way under the strain 
* * * and in December, 1762, a stroke of palsy, that de- 
prived him of the use of his lower limbs, all the winter, put an 
end to all hope, for the time, at least, of his future usefulness. 


He rallied, however, and if he did, indeed, escape the drivel- 
ling imbecility of old age, he committed its supreme folly by 
marrying a very young girl. Complimented in 1755 for his 
vigor and intelligence, in 1762 he was told by the lords of 
the Board of Trade that his dispatches were so very incorrect, 
vague and incoherent that it was almost impossible to dis- 
cover his meaning, and that as far as they could be under- 
stood, they contained little more than repetitions of proposi- 
tions he had made to them before, and upon which he had 
received their sentiments fully and clearly expressed." 3 To 
which it must be added that as his mental faculties decreased, 
his irritability, his dictatorialness, and his egotism increased, 
rendering co-operation with him impossible. Such was the 
man which the British colonial system of the eighteenth 
century selected to administer the public affairs of a sensitive 
and highly excitable people at a time when the fate of the 
British Empire hung upon the vigor, intelligence and harmony 
with which all its parts co-operated in its defense. 

Dobbs arrived at a conjuncture favorable for a successful 
administration. The people were tired of internal strife. The 
French and Indian War was then in progress and imperial 
interests for the first time in the history of the colony ab- 
sorbed the attention of the people. Dobbs, too, was the bearer 
of the decisions of the Crown in the issues raised by Governor 
Johnston and these decisions were on the whole favorable to 
the colony. Furthermore he brought instructions to dissolve 
the old rump Assembly elected in 1747, which half the colony 
regarded as illegal, and to call a new Assembly in which rep- 
resentation should be distributed as it had been prior to 1746. 
This Assembly met in New Bern, December 12, 1754. It was 
the first Assembly since June, 1746, in which all the counties 
were represented. Evidence of the seriousness of the division 
in the popular party was seen in the contest for the speaker- 
ship. For the first time in fourteen years a candidate for the 
speakership appeared against Samuel Swann, who had long 
been the leader of the popular party and was now the leader 
of the southern faction. After a sharp contest, he was de- 
feated by John Campbell, leader of the northern faction. 
The morning after the election, Dobbs wrote to the Board of 
Trade, "Although there may be some little sparring betwixt 
the parties, yet both have assured me it shall have no effect 
upon public affairs or make my administration uneasy 

5 5 

3 Prefatory Notes to Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. 
V, p. viii. 


In spite of his sanguine anticipations, Dobbs soon found 
himself involved in controversies with the Assembly over a 
greater variety of issues than any of his predecessors. Some 
of the less important of these concerned the right of the As- 
sembly to elect the public treasurer, to name an agent to rep- 
resent the colony before the various boards in England, to 
appoint a public printer, and to fix the fees of provincial offi- 
cials. On these issues the Board of Trade generally sustained 
the Assembly even to the point of rebuking the governor for 
the persistence of his opposition. When Dobbs, for instance, 
rejected an aid bill because it contained a clause naming an 
agent in England, in whose choice he claimed a right to be 
consulted, the Board of Trade wrote to him that it was none 
of his business "either in point of Right or Propriety to inter- 
fere in the nomination of an Agent so far" as regards the 
Choice of the person" for "in this respect the Eepresentatives 
of the people are and ought to be free to chuse whom they 
think proper to act," and that while the method of appoint- 
ment in this particular case was irregular, "yet when we 
consider the necessity there was of some supply to answer the 
exigency of the Service in the present calamitous State of his 
Majesty's Southern Provinces, we cannot but think it was too 
trivial an Objection to have been admitted as a reason for 
rejecting that Supply.' 1 But on the more important issues, 
such as the number of members necessary to constitute a 
quorum of the House of Commons, the right of the Assembly 
to determine the qualifications and tenure of judges, and its 
right to control the expenditure of public funds, the Board 
of Trade fully sustained the governor. 

The quorum controversy Dobbs inherited from the John- 
ston administration. The popular party, contending for the 
principle of the Biennial Act of 1715, that "the quorum of 
the House of Burgesses for voting and passing of Bills shall 
not be less than one full half of the House," based its conten- 
tion upon "the Constitution and constant usage and practice" 
'of the colony. Such a constitution, on the other hand, the 
crown officials, calling to mind the practice of the British 
Parliament in which 40 members out of a total of 556 were a 
quorum, considered "very extraordinary and liable to great 
inconvenience," so they instructed Dobbs to consider fifteen 
members a quorum of the Assembly. This instruction the 
Assembly resolutely refused to obey. In October, 1760, in 
April, 1762, in December, 1763, and in February, 1764, the 
members declined to obey the governor's commands that they 


form a House with less than a majority, "denying His Maj- 
esty's right of constituting fifteen to be a quorum." The 
governor blustered and scolded and the Board of Trade de- 
nounced the Assembly's course as "an indecent opposition to 
the just authority of the Crown," but to no purpose; the As- 
sembly refused to yield and the issue remained to vex the 
administration of Dobbs' latest successor under the Crown. 
It was not finally settled until the people took the government 
into their own hands in 1776. 

In the quorum controversy the Assembly held a stronger 
legal position than it did in the controversy over the qualifica- 
tions and tenure of judges, though perhaps not a more just 
one. It was conceded that the appointment of a chief justice, 
with a tenure during the king's pleasure, was a prerogative 
of the Crown. For this great office attorneys were usually 
sent out from England whose personal character and legal 
learning did not always measure up to the dignity and re- 
sponsibility of their position. Owing their appointment and 
their tenure to the will of the governor they were perhaps 
too often amenable to executive influence. To curtail this in- 
fluence as much as possible, as well as to provide for the 
increasing needs of the growing colony, the Assembly passed 
an act which provided for associate, or assistant justices upon 
whom, in the absence or disability of the chief justice, it con- 
ferred full jurisdiction, at the same time so arranging the 
circuits that the chief justice could not possibly attend more 
than half the courts. These associate justices were to be 
appointed by the governor, but the Assembly was careful to 
limit his choice by fixing such qualifications as practically to 
exclude all non-resident attorneys, and to secure their inde- 
pendence by giving them a tenure during good behavior. 

These "new and unprecedented" features, crown officials 
considered violations of the king's prerogative, and upon their 
advice the king vetoed the act and instructed Dobbs not to 
consent to any such provisions in the future. Thus again did 
Prerogative challenge Privilege, undo what the Assembly had 
declared to be necessary for the "ease" of the people and 
the "due and regular administration of justice," and ride 
roughshod over the personal ambitions of numerous aspiring 
attorneys. Here then were all the elements for a pretty 
quarrel. It flared up at once bringing withjt as Dobbs said, 
"a stagnation of Justice." The controversy reached its 
crisis in 1760. Called into special session to vote an aid to 
the king for war purposes, the Assembly obstinately refused 


even to consider an aid bill unless the governor would con- 
sent to its court bill. The contest raged with great bitterness. 
The governor lashed the members fiercely and the Assemblv 
retorted by holding a secret session in which it brought an 
arraignment against Dobbs "without an equal until that 
brought against King George at Philadelphia by the United 
Colonies on the 4th of July, 1776." 4 It declared that "by the 
injudicious and partial appointment of Justices not quali- 
fied for such trust and the abrupt removal of Others whose 
Characters have been liable to no objection, Magistracy has 
fallen into Contempt and Courts have lost their Influence and 
dignity." These explosions, however, cleared the atmosphere 
and led the way to a compromise. In return for a supply, 
the governor agreed to sign the court bill provided a clause 
was inserted limiting its duration to two years unless ap- 
proved by the king. Needless to say this approval was never 
given, and the only reward Dobbs received for his pains was 
a stinging rebuke from his official superiors. The Assembly 
fared better for the incident showed it a way to accomplish 
its purpose by adopting the simple expedient of passing 
court laws containing the desired provisions and limited in 
their operation for two years. This practice was followed 
for more than a decade. 

Most of the controversies which have been discussed, es- 
pecially those over the election of the public treasurer, the 
appointment of the colonial agent, and the qualifications and 
tenure of judges, were involved in the great controversy over 
finances, and were, in fact, subsidiary to it; that is to say, 
the Assembly used its* power over the public purse to force 
from the executive concessions on these other questions. The 
French and Indian War which continued through most of 
Dobbs' administration brought unprecedented demands for 
money and gave to financial affairs greater importance than 
they had ever had before. No man was more British in his 
enmity to the French, or more Protestant in his hostility to 
their religion, than Dobbs, and he made the wringing of money 
out of the province for the prosecution of the war the para- 
mount object of his administration. The Assembly met his 
demands as liberally as it thought the circumstances of the 
colony justified, but it could not satisfy the governor. Greater 
demands urged in impolitic language brought on numerous 

4 Saunders: Prefatory Notes to Colonial Records of North Caro- 
lina, Vol. VI, p. xxi. 


sharp controversies over the prerogatives of the Crown and 
the privileges of the Assembly in fiscal affairs. 

These controversies involved two classes of funds. First, 
there was North Carolina's share of the appropriation made 
by the British Parliament to reimburse the colonies for their 
large expenditures in prosecuting the war ; and, second, money 
appropriated directly by the General Assembly. Dobbs 
claimed the right to dispose of the first by executive order, 
and at times drew upon it for the equipment and pay of 
troops. His right to do this the Assembly disputed, and its 
position was sustained by the Board of Trade. Much more 
significant was the controversy over appropriations. The 
governor complained of the habit of the Assembly of tacking 
onto supply bills extraneous matters, such as the appointment 
of a colonial agent, and of using its control over such bills 
to force concessions in other matters, as it did in the court law 
controversy. But these phases of the dispute involved no 
principle; the chief issue was the claim of the Assembly to 
the sole right to frame supply bills. In 1754, the Council 
having proposed an amendment to an appropriation bill, the 
Assembly promptly rejected it and unanimously resolved 
"that the Councill in taking upon them to make several mate- 
rial Alterations to the said Bill whereby the manner of raising 
as well as Application of the Aid thereby granted to his 
Majesty is directed in a different Manner than by that said 
Bill proposed have acted contrary to Custom and Usage of 
Parliament and that the same tends to Infringe the Bight 
and Liberties of the Assembly who have always enjoyed un- 
interrupted the Privilege of Framing and modelling all Bills 
by Virtue of which Money has been Levied on the Subject 
for an Aid for his Majesty." Having made good this princi- 
ple, the Assembly voted money for support of the war with 
a liberality which even Dobbs acknowledge 1. After 1758, 
however, the governor made a total failure in his efforts to 
direct the Assembly. More zealous than judicious, he allowed 
himself to become involved in a silly quarrel over what the 
Board of Trade called a "trivial" matter, in which he imag- 
ined the king's prerogative was affected, and rather than 
yield a little where resistance could do no good, he foolishly 
threw away the supplies which a burdened people reluctantly 
offered. Quarrel followed quarrel; the sessions were con- 
sumed with quarrels. The Assembly refused to frame sup- 
ply bills at the governor's dictation, and in an outburst of 
wrath, he wrote to the Board of Trade that the members were 


"as obstinate as mules" and appealed to the king to strength- 
en his authority for "supporting his Majesty's prerogative" 
in the colonv. 

In these controversies with Dobbs, one's sympathies are 
naturally with the Assembly. Nevertheless when one con- 
siders the threat which the vast designs of France held out 
against the very existence of the British Empire in America, 
the danger which hung over the colonists themselves from the 
hostility of the savage and relentless allies of the French, and 
the urgent necessity for unity and harmony in all the English- 
speaking colonies, one cannot altogether escape the feeling 
that the Board of Trade was justified in rebuking the As- 
sembly for its "unfortunate and ill-timed disputes 
at a time when the united efforts of all his Majesty's subjects 
are so essentially necessary to their own security and to the 
promoting the general interest of the Community." 

The Assembly's justification must be sought in its con- 
viction that it was fighting the battles of constitutional and 
representative government. Its appeal was constantly to 
the "Constitution" and the "usage and practice" of the col- 
ony. By "Constitution" it meant the Carolina charter and 
the practices which had grown up under it. Among its 
provisions was a guarantee that the people of Carolina should 
"freely and quietly have, possess and enjoy" as fully as if 
they were residents of England, "all liberties, franchises, 
and privileges, of this our kingdom, without the 

molestation, vexation, trouble, or grievance, of us, our heirs, 
and successors; any act, statute, ordinance, or provision, to 
the contrary notwithstanding." Furthermore, the charter 
contained certain provisions which, though not among those 
"liberties, franchises and privileges" which the people en- 
joyed as Englishmen, were yet equally as binding upon both 
ruler and subject. In the quorum controversy, for instance, 
the Assembly based its contention on that clause of the char- 
ter which provided for the making of laws by and with the 
advice and consent of the freemen, "or the greater part of 
them, or their delegates or deputies," and asserted that "the 
King had no right to lessen the Quorum by his Instructions." 
These chartered rights, the Assembly held, had not been af- 
fected by the transfer of the colony to the Crown, and could 
be neither abridged nor abrogated without the consent of the 
people. As late as 1761, Dobbs wrote that the Assembly con- 
' tended that the charter "still subsisted" and that it bound 
the king as well as the people. The Assembly felt, there- 


fore, that it was fighting the battles of representative gov- 
ernment, which the royal governors had set themselves to 
destroy. Dobbs summed up the situation when he wrote, 
''The Assembly think themselves entitled to all the Privileges 
of a British House of Commons and therefore ought not to 
submit to His Majesty's honorable Privy Council further than 
the Commons do in England, or submit to His Majesty's in- 
structions to His Governor and Council here," and appealed 
to the king to strengthen his hands that he might more effec- 
tually "oppose and suppress a republican spirit of Independ- 
ency rising in this Colony. ' ' 


The change from a proprietary to a crown colony swept 
North Carolina more fully than ever into the current of inter- 
colonial and imperial affairs. Its administration now passed 
under the immediate supervision of a committee of the Privy 
Council officially entitled the Lords Commissioners for Trade 
and Plantations, but better* known as the Board of Trade. To 
enable this board, to which was committed the general super- 
vision of colonial affairs, to carry out its task, power was 
given it to recommend to the king in Council suitable persons 
for governor, councillors, judges and other colonial officials; 
to draft instructions to governors, and to correspond with 
them ; to examine laws passed by colonial assemblies and to 
recommend to the king in Council those which ought to be 
approved and those which ought to be vetoed ; to hear com- 
plaints of oppression and mal-administration in the colonies 
and to report its findings to the king in Council; to require 
accountings of public funds voted by colonial assemblies; 
to "execute and perform all other things necessary or proper 
for answering our royal intentions in the premises;" and, 
finally, in order to make its power effective, to send for per- 
sons and papers, and to examine persons under oath. Al- 
though it had no executive power of its own, nevertheless its 
advice was sought and generally adopted by the Privy Coun- 
cil which had ultimate authority in colonial affairs. The 
Board of Trade, writes Andrews, "developed fairly definite 
ideas as to what the British policy towards the colonies should 
be; it maintained in the Plantation Office a permanent staff 
of secretaries and clerks who became the guardians of the 
traditions of the office; and upheld, during periods of political 
manipulation and frequent change, a more or less fixed colo- 
nial program." * 

The Board of Trade displayed remarkable consistency in 

1 Andrews, Charles McLean: The Colonial Period, p. 136. 



its colonial program and held tenaciously to certain principles 
of imperial government. It sought to make the governments 
of the colonies, as far as possible, conform to a single adminis- 
trative type and by retaining control of the executive and 
judiciary to preserve and strengthen their dependence upon 
the home government. North Carolina felt the influence of 
these policies even before the purchase by the Crown. We 
have already seen how the Board of Trade sought to bring 
North Carolina under its administrative control, first through 
action by Parliament, then through quo warranto proceedings ; 
and how, when both of these methods failed, through gradual 
encroachments upon the chartered rights and privileges of the 
Lords Proprietors, it finally forced them to surrender their 
charter. Similar proceedings, at times even more arbitrary 
ones, were taken with other proprietary colonies. Closely 
allied with this policy were the efforts of the board to 
strengthen its authority over the colonies through undivided 
control over their executive and judiciary officers. Even in 
the proprietary governments, an act of Parliament required 
nominees of the Proprietors for governor to be approved 
by the king before they could qualify. In the royal colonies 
the board undertook to establish permanent civil lists in 
order that the governors, judges and other officials might be 
independent of the assemblies for their salaries and hence be 
free to carry out imperial policies unhampered by local inter- 
ests. With the same object in view it required judges to be 
commissioned during the king's pleasure only. 

These policies met with intense opposition in the colonies. 
In North Carolina Burrington and Johnston, in obedience to 
their instructions, called upon the Assembly to provide per- 
manently "a competent salary" for the governor, but the 
Assembly replied that if the king wished the governor's salary 
to be so fixed, he could pay it out of his quit rents. The Board 
of Trade accordingly adopted the suggestion, but the col- 
lection of quit rents depended upon legislation by the Assem- 
bly, and the Assembly, as we have seen, refused to obey in- 
structions relating to them. Quit rents, therefore, were so 
seldom collected in North Carolina that Burrington 's salary 
was never paid, while Johnston's, at the time of his death, 
was thirteen years in arrears. In its instructions to Dobbs, the 
Board of Trade introduced an additional clause, common to 
its instructions to governors of other colonies, that the Assem- 
bly should fix a civil list "without limitation in point of time." 
But the Assembly steadfastly refused. "I can see no prospect 


of getting a fixed salary to the Governor or his successors," 
wrote Dobbs to the Board of Trade. " * * * There seems 
to be an established maxim fixed in the several Assemblies of 
the colonies to keep the Governors and Government as much 
in their power as they can." Like his predecessors, Dobbs 
was compelled to look elsewhere for his compensation. 

Control of the judiciary in the imperial interests turned 
less upon the question of salary than upon the tenure of 
the judges. The colonies insisted that judges be commissioned 
during good behavior, but the Board of Trade instructed the 
governors to issue no commissions except during the king's 
pleasure. In 1754 Governor Dobbs was compelled to break 
through his instructions on this point and consent to an act 
which provided for judges during good behavior, but the king, 
upon the advice of the Board of Trade, promptly repudiated 
his action. In 1761 the Board of Trade assumed an inflexible 
attitude on this point. It removed the governor of New Jersey 
from office for failure to enforce this policy. In the same year 
it reported adversely upon two judiciary acts of the North 
Carolina Assembly largely because they provided for judges 
during good behavior, for it confessed that in other respects, 
the acts were "not only regular and uniform" in themselves, 
but were also "consonant to the principles and Constitution 
of the Mother Country" and "properly adapted to the situa- 
tion and circumstances" of the colony. Thus in one colony 
after another the judiciary was brought under the control of 
the Crown and after 1762 all judges held office during pleasure 
only. The colonies never became reconciled to this policy and 
when they came in 1776 to declare their independence of the 
mother country, they listed it among those things which 
justified their action. 

The Board of Trade kept constantly in view not only the 
relations of the colonies to the empire, but their relations 
to each other and to the savage nations with which 
they came in contact. Many of its most important activities 
concerned inter-colonial relations and Indian affairs. Under 
its supervision came such problems as boundary line contro- 
versies, inter-colonial trade policies, and the relations of the 
several Indian nations to each other as well as to the whites. 

Prior to 1700 few of the colonies had such well defined 
boundaries as to be free from boundary disputes which always 
involved questions that could not be settled by those directly 
interested in them. In those between crown colonies and pro- 
prietary colonies, as illustrated in the North Carolina-Vir- 

Vol. 1—16 


ginia boundary dispute, both king and proprietors had inter- 
ests to be considered. The colonies themselves were deeply 
concerned as the controversies frequently involved the en- 
forcement of criminal laws, the execution of judicial processes, 
the collection of taxes, service in the militia, Indian affairs, and 
other governmental problems. Private interests too were 
numerous and complicated. Titles to land along the contested 
lines rested upon the right of the government under which 
they were claimed to issue the grants, and conflicting claims 
often led to disorders, riots, and bloodshed. 

No better illustration of conditions growing out of a dis- 
puted boundary can be found than those which arose along 
the North Carolina-South Carolina border from 1753 to 1764. 
As early as 1735 commissioners representing the two prov- 
inces had agreed upon the thirty-fifth parallel of latitude as 
the boundary but many years passed before it was located by 
survey. In 1753 complaint was made to the North Carolina 
Council that South Carolina surveyors had entered the Wax- 
haw settlement north of the thirty-fifth parallel and were 
surveying under grants from South Carolina tracts of land 
which were "the property of several persons with- 

in this Province to the great Disturbance of their Peace and 
Quiet. ' : The Council thereupon advised the governor to 
issue orders to both the civil and military authorities to arrest 
all such surveyors and bring them to trial. Two years later 
Governor Dobbs charged that Governor Glen of South Caro- 
lina had "spirited up some of the settlers" on his lands, which 
had been patented under the laws of North Carolina in 1746, 
"to take out warrants of survey from him and he would sup- 
port them," adding, "When Mr. Glen would begin with me, 
it may be presumed no private person could escape him." 
But the chief sufferer in these disputes was Henry McCulloh 
whose grants lay along the border. In 1756 it was charged 
that Governor Glen was "daily granting warrants of survey" 
within McCulloh 's tract. Conflicts between rival survey- 
ors, and between those claiming under their surveys, were 
often attended with fatal results. Anarchy and lawlessness 
prevailed in many border communities for the region in dis- 
pute became "a kind of sanctuary to Criminals and Vagabonds 
by their pretending as it served their purpose that they be- 
longed to either Province. ' ' 

But there were other actions of the South Carolina authori- 
ties which were even more irritating to North Carolina officials 
than the surveys. The governor of South Carolina, for in- 


stance, required settlers north of the thirty-fifth parallel to 
attend his militia musters and undertook to impose fines 
upon those who refuse 1 to obey his summons, commissioned 
justices of the peace north' of that line, encouraged settlers 
there to refuse to pay taxes to the North Carolina govern- 
ment, and warned Governor Dobbs himself "not to molest 
them. ' ' Encouraged by his support, a band of settlers in An- 
son County fell upon the sheriff while he was collecting taxes 
and imprisoned him, and Dobbs, "to prevent further con- 
fusion, was obliged to overlook it." At times officials of 
the tw T o provinces actually came into armed conflict. In 1755, 
in a letter to Dobbs, Glen denounced "several outrages" by 
citizens of North Carolina upon inhabitants of South Carolina, 
"which," he added, "having been committed under the colour 
of authority by persons pretending to be officers of your 
Government, the offense was the more intolerable." To which 
Dobbs replied that the North Carolina officials had "only re- 
pelled an invasive force" sent from South Carolina to sur- 
vey land, collect taxes, and impose fines within the jurisdic- 
tion of North Carolina. 

These charges and counter-charges finally led to an open 
breach between the two governors. They were in truth too 
much alike to get along together harmoniously. What Dobbs 
said of Glen applies with equal truth to himself, that he was 
"too opinionated and self-sufficient to have any dealings with 
him." Glen's air of superiority and condescension ruffled 
his adversary's sense of dignity. Your letter, wrote Dobbs, 
in reply to a letter just received from Glen, was written "in 
a very extraordinary style, I may say dictatorial, not as one 
Governor to another having equal powers from his Majesty, 
and independent of each other, but as if I was dependent 
upon you, and obliged to give you an account of my behaviour 
in transacting affairs of this Government." Throwing aside 
all pretense of diplomacy Dobbs wrote to the Board of Trade 
that he would have no further dealings with Glen, and in this 
position the board seems to have sustained him for, greatly 
to Dobbs' satisfaction, it removed Glen from office. 

Such incidents showed the necessity for an impartial tri- 
bunal with power to settle controversies between colonies. This 
tribunal was found in the Board of Trade. One of its first 
problems concerning the Carol inas after their transfer to the 
Crown was the settlement of their boundary. At the time the 
transfer was completed both George Burrington and Robert 
Johnson, the newly appointed royal governors, were in Lon- 


don awaiting their instructions, and since both had been offi- 
cials under the Lords Proprietors and were supposed to be 
familiar with colonial conditions, the Board of Trade directed 
them to agree on a boundary line between their provinces. 
After a conference, in which they were joined by "some other 
gentlemen belonging to those provinces," they reached an 
agreement which the Board of Trade approved. Accordingly 
it issued instructions directing the two governors to appoint 
commissioners to run a line to begin at the sea thirty miles 
southwest of the mouth of Cape Fear River, and keeping that 
distance from the river, to run parallel with it to its source, 
thence due west as far as the South Sea. Afterwards at the 
suggestion of Governor Johnson, and without consulting Bur- 
rington, the board added as an alternative, that if the Wac- 
camaw River lay within thirty miles of Cape Fear River, 
then it should be the line from the sea to its source ; from which 
the line should continue parallel with the Cape Fear River at a 
distance of thirty miles to its source, thence due west to the 
South Sea. 

Disputes of course arose over the meaning of these instruc- 
tions. The source of the Waccamaw was found to be within 
thirty miles of the Cape Fear and this fact gave Burrington 
basis for claiming the Waccamaw as the boundary; its mouth, 
on the contrary, was at least ninety miles from Cape Fear, and 
Johnson insisted that the word "mouth" should be read into 
the instructions as its omission "was only a Mistake in the 
wording of it." Burrington in a public proclamation warned 
all persons against taking out warrants from the South Car- 
olina authorities for land north of Waccamaw River, and 
Johnson in a similar proclamation replied to him. The two 
governors could not agree and were compelled to call in the 
Board of Trade to decide between them. Governor Johnson 
declared that Burrington 's interpretation "would bring his 
boundary into the bowels of our present settlements," and 
urged a "speedy running" of the line according to the claims 
of South Carolina. But North Carolina was not satisfied 
with the Cape Fear River as her western boundary, as such a 
line would cut her off from any westward development. Bur- 
rington, therefore, urged upon the board reasons for changing 
the line from the Cape Fear River to the Pee Dee River, saying 
that the former line was "intricate and difficult," and that the 
expense of running it would be £2,000 sterling, while the Pee 
Dee was a natural boundary open to neither of these objec- 
tions. If the whole region between the Cape Fear and the 


Pee Dee were sold, lie added, probably with a sardonic grin, 
"it wonld not prove sufficient to pay commissioners, chains, 
carriers, and labourers," necessary to run the Cape Fear line. 
The North Carolina Council endorsed Burrington 's sugges- 
tion and advised him not to appoint commissioners until the 
Board of Trade had passed upon it. But the board promptly 
rejected it, saying that it would not think of altering its instruc- 
tion "upon hearing one party only" and directed Burrington 
to "put that instruction in execution. ' ' But George Burrington 
was determined that the line should not be so run and he never 
lacked expedients for carrying his purposes into effect. By 
prolonging the debate on the advantages of the Pee Dee line, 
and when defeated in that, by referring to the Board of Trade 
the problem of paying for the survey, he managed to postpone 
the running of the line for three years, so that when he was 
recalled in 1734, nothing had, been done. Whatever one may 
think of the ethics of his tactics, their success is not open to 
criticism for they saved to North Carolina that vast region 
west of Cape Fear River and between the thirty-fifth and 
thirty-sixth parallels of north latitude, now the richest section 
of the commonwealth. 

In 1734 Gabriel Johnston succeeded Burrington. Upon his 
arrival at Cape Fear, he was asked by Governor Johnson 
whether he "had not brought over a more plain instruction 
about the dividing line," to which he replied in the negative, at 
the same time stating his intention of carrying the old instruc- 
tion into execution. Further interchange of views led to an 
agreement to appoint commissioners to adjust the differences 
between the two governments. In 1735, therefore, Governor 
Johnson appointed Alexander Skene, James Abercrombie, 
and William Walters to represent South Carolina, and Gov- 
ernor Johnston appointed Robert Halton, Eleazer Allen, 
Matthew Rowan, Edward Moseley, and Roger Moore to rep- 
resent North Carolina. The commissioners met at Lilliput, 
the home of Eleazer Allen on the Cape Fear, in March, 1735, 
and remained in session six weeks. A spirit of compromise 
pervaded their deliberations. The South Carolina commis- 
sioners, wrote Governor Johnston, "desired that without ad- 
hering with too much rigour to the words of the instruction, 
which favoured our pretensions very much, we would agree 
to such reasonable propositions as they designed to make us, 
and then join our endeavours to get this agreement ratified at 
home." The North Carolina commissioners met this sug- 
gestion in the spirit in which it was offered, the governor 


himself setting the example. "After many conferences held 
during the space of six weeks," wrote the South Carolina com- 
missioners, "by the kindly interposition of Gabriel Johnston 
[we] had the happiness to remove a difference which 
had long subsisted between the two provinces and finally to 
settle and adjust the limits to the mutual satisfaction of both." 

The line agreed upon was to begin at the sea, thirty miles 
southwest of the mouth of Cape Fear River, to run thence 
in a northwest course to the thirty-fifth parallel of north lati- 
tude, thence due west to the South Sea ; if before reaching the 
thirty-fifth parallel, it came within five miles of the Pee Dee 
River, it should then run parallel with the Pee Dee at a dis- 
tance of five miles to the thirty-fifth degree, thence due west 
to the South Sea ; provided that at no point should it approach 
nearer than thirty miles to the Cape Fear River ; and pro- 
vided, further, that when it reached the reservation of the 
Catawba Indians, it should be so ran as to throw those Indi- 
ans into South Carolina. This agreement, which the South 
Carolinians "consented to with great joy," was signed by all 
the commissioners, April 23, 1735, and later was approved by 
the Board of Trade which wrote, "We shall always have a 
proper regard to so solemn a determination agreed to by 
persons properly empowered by each of the Provinces." The 
commissioners hastened to carry their agreement into effect. 
They began their survey May 1, 1735, and during the summer 
and fall ran the line something over 100 miles from the coast. 
A deputy surveyor afterwards took the latitude of Pee Dee 
River at the thirty-fifth parallel and set up a marker there 
which for several years was considered to be the boundary 
at that place. In their work, the commissioners "endured 
vast fatigue.' ; Most of the line ran through uninhabited 
woods in many places impassable until they had cleared the 
way. There were, too, several large and rapid rivers which 
were crossed only with great danger and difficulty. In spite of 
these hardships and difficulties, testified Governor Johnston, 
they "performed their business with great diligence and 
exactness." Although their work did not put an end to the 
controversies between the two provinces, it fixed the line 
from which no substantial deviations were afterwards made. 
Surveys in 1737, in 1764, and in 1772 carried it as far west 
as Tryon Mountain where' it stopped until after North Caro- 
lina and South Carolina had ceased to be British colonies. 

The boundary dispute between the two provinces was in- 
timatelv connected with their trade relations. For commercial 


reasons the settlers along the upper waters of the Pee Dee 
and Catawba rivers wanted the line to be so run as either to 
throw them into South Carolina, or to leave the Pee Dee River 
wholly in North Carolina. The explanation of their wishes is 
found in the fact that Charleston was their chief market. An 
inhabitant of Mecklenburg County, writing in 1768 about the 
building of a palace for the governor at New Bern, declared 
that i i not one man in twenty of the four most populous coun- 
ties will ever see this famous house when built, as their con- 
nections and trade do, and ever will, more naturally centre 
in South Carolina. ' : It was much easier for them to float their 
produce down the Pee Dee and Catawba rivers to Charleston 
than to carry them overland to Wilmington and New Bern. 

Instead of encouraging this trade, South Carolina in the 
supposed interest of her own merchants, laid heavy duties on 
products imported from North Carolina. In 1762 the Council 
petitioned the king to order the southern boundary of the 
province to be carried farther south to Winyaw where the 
Pee Dee River enters the Atlantic Ocean "as by our having 
one side of Winyaw we should have a free navigation to the 
Sea and enjoy the Benefit of the inland Navigation of the 
Yadkin, Rocky, Great and Little Pee Dee Rivers, which though 
they all run through the Heart of this province enter the Sea 
at Winyaw, and as there are heavy Dutys laid in South 
Carolina upon the produce of this province we [they] are 
from that reason rendered totally useless to both provinces 
as the Boundary now stands." Thus the North Carolina 
settlers were caught between the devil of geographical 
obstacles to trade on the one side and the deep blue sea of 
artificial restrictions on the other. The Board of Trade to 
which they appealed, admitted that South Carolina's policy 
"must in its consequence destruct the Commerce of His Maj- 
esty's subjects in North Carolina," and promised relief. But 
nothing came of this promise, and North Carolina began to 
seek measures of retaliation and relief on her own account. 
In 1751 the Assembly levied heavy duties on spirituous liquors 
imported into Anson County from South Carolina, and later 
forbade the ranging of South Carolina cattle within the bounds 
of North Carolina. 

But retaliatory measures and vain petitions to the Crown 
were less effective than the constructive measures which ac- 
companied them. Such a measure was the act, passed in 1762, 
for the incorporation of a market town called Campbellton at 
the head of navigation of the Cape Fear River. One of the 


reasons cited for the passage of this act was the hope that 
"the trade of the counties of Anson and Rowan which at 
present centers in Charlestown, South Carolina, to the great 
prejudice of this Province, will be drawn down to the said 
town." To promote this result acts were also passed for the 
building of roads from the Dan River on the Virginia line and 
from Shallow Ford on the Yadkin to Campbellton. These 
wise measures ultimately turned much of the trade of the back 
country from Charleston to Campbellton, thence down the 
Cape Fear to Wilmington, brought the West into closer rela- 
tions with the East, and checked the tendency of the western 
counties of North Carolina to become mere outlying districts of 
South Carolina. 

Between the Albemarle section of North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia existed trade relations similar to those between the back 
country and South Carolina. Those relations and Virginia's 
hostile policy based on them have already been discussed. But 
while North Carolina remained a proprietary colony no trib- 
bunal existed sufficiently interested in its welfare with power to 
grant relief. Its transfer to the Crown, however, placed it in a 
much more favorable position with respect to its more power- 
ful northern neighbor. The Albemarle planters were quick to 
understand their new status, and in 1731 sought relief by 
appealing to the Board of Trade to repeal the Virginia statute 
of 1726, originally passed in 1679, which prohibited the ship- 
ment of North Carolina tobacco through Virginia ports. The 
petitioners declared that tobacco was the chief product by 
which they "subsisted and provided their families with all 
kinds of European goods," that they could not export it 
through their own ports because of the shallow inlets along 
the North Carolina coast, and that unless the relief they sought 
was granted they would either be reduced to poverty or be 
compelled to "fall upon such usefull Manufactorys" as would 
render unnecessary the importation of European goods "and 
consequently be prejudicial to the Trade of Great Britain." 
Suggestions that the colonies might establish manufacturing 
enterprises always frightened British statesmen, and the hint 
of the Albemarle planters had the desired effect. The Board 
of Trade adopted their view of the Virginia statute, and upon 
its recommendation the king repealed the obnoxious act, No- 
vember 25, 1731. 

The repeal of this statute and the settlement of their boun- 
dary line removed the chief causes of controversy between 
the two colonies. Another source of ill feeling was removed 


when North Carolina assumed the dignity of a crown colony, 
a change which made necessary the adoption by the Virginia 
government of a more respectful official attitude toward the 
younger colony. But perhaps the most important element 
in drawing the two colonies together was the influence of the 
German and Scotch-Irish settlers who, after 1735, poured into 
the back country of both provinces. Coining in search of 
good land, these settlers cared little whether they found it 
on the headwaters of the James or on the headwaters of the 
Yadkin. They brought with them none of the ancient preju- 
dices that existed in the older communities of both provinces. 
Members of the same family setting out together from Phil- 
adelphia would often separate, some finding the object of 
their search in Virginia, others passing on into North Caro- 
lina. Their church organizations, too, Presbyterian, Lutheran, 
German Reformed, and Moravian, existing independently of 
vestry laws, took no account of provincial boundary lines. 
Finally, the presence on their frontier of powerful savage na- 
tions which struggled desperately to stay their advance, was 
an ever-present common danger which drew them into the 
bonds of a common defence. Under the stimulus of these 
influences ancient prejudices and feelings of hostility between 
the two colonies gradually gave way to sentiments of genuine 
respect and mutual good will. 

The presence of powerful Indian tribes on their western 
frontier gave the governments of Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina and Georgia many common problems which 
drew them into closer relations with each other. Unfortun- 
ately these relations were not always of a friendly character. 
Speaking broadly, and with respect only to their relations to 
the English colonies, there were two classes of Indian nations. 
First there were those who had been reduced to the position 
of tributaries to the whites; secondly, those whose territory 
had not yet been violated by the feet of white settlers and 
who were still sufficiently numerous and powerful to main- 
tain their independence. Each of the colonies had taken cer- 
tain of the former class under its protection, was keenly 
jealous of its authority over them, eager to engross their 
trade, and quick to resent any encroachments upon their rights 
and interests. Indian affairs in general, however, came within 
the activities of the Board of Trade which exercised a general 
supervision over them and determined the broad • lines of 
policy to be followed. 

In 1730 the board instructed Burrington to make a report 


on the several tribes in North Carolina and their numbers. In 
Eastern North Carolina he found representatives of six na- 
tions. One of these had formerly been tributary to Virginia 
but had recently, by the running of the Carolina- Virginia 
boundary line, been brought within the jurisdiction of North 
Carolina. The other tribes were the Hatteras, the Mattamus- 
keets, the Pottasketes, the Chowanocs, and the Tuscarora. 
None of them, except the Tuscarora, exceeded twenty fam- 
ilies. They were indeed but miserable remnants of the once 
powerful tribes of the ancient lords of the forest. The greater 
part of the Tuscarora had been driven out of the province as a 
result of the wars of 1711-1713, and that nation, formerly so 
formidable and warlike, whose power had been all but suffi- 
cient to destroy the English colony, was now reduced to about 
200 fighting men who had been preserved only through the 
timid and treacherous policy of their chief, Tom Blunt. In 
1730 these nations all lived within the English settlements on 
reservations set apart for them by the provincial government. 
After the Tuscarora War the Assembly, in 1715, passed an 
"Act for Restraining the Indyans from molesting or Injureing 
the Inhabitants of this Government and for Secureing to the 
Indyans the right and property of their lands." Commenting 
on this act after fifteen years of trial, Burrington said, "This 
Law has proved very convenient to prevent any irregularities 
and misunderstandings with the Tributary Indians that live 
among us who have ever since behaved peaceably and are now 
excepting the Tuscaroras decayed and grown very inconsid- 

Over the affairs of these tributary nations, in their rela- 
tions with the whites and with each other, the provincial gov- 
ernment exercised complete control. The Indians could sell no 
land without the approval of the governor in Council ; they 
were forbidden to hunt beyond the bounds of their reserva- 
tions without special license; their commercial dealings with 
white traders were subjected to rigid supervision. These re- 
strictions were imposed upon them less to restrain their free- 
dom than to protect them against injustice from their white 
neighbors. In 1741 the Council took the precaution to have the 
bounds of the Tuscarora reservation surveyed and recorded in 
the secretary's office "to prevent any Incroachments or dis- 
putes with the white people who live round about them." If a 
tribe wanted to sell any of its land, its chiefs were called into 
the presence of the governor and Council, the deed was read 
and explained to them, and upon their acknowledgment that 


they had received the money and were satisfied, the governor 
approved the sale. To protect them from the machinations of 
unscrupulous traders, the Council in 1731 appointed five com- 
missioners of Indian affairs to supervise their commercial 
dealings with the whites. An illustration of the care with 
which the Council guarded these commercial transactions oc- 
curred at its session on October 14, 1736, when a petition was 
presented on behalf of Susanna Everard, executrix of Sir 
Eichard Everard, "setting forth that the Tuskarrora Indians 
are indebted to the said Susanna £203 in Drest Deer Skins and 
praying that they may be compelled to discharge the same.'' 
The Council refused to act on the petition but referred it to 
the commissioners for Indian affairs and to prevent frauds 
from being practiced upon the Indians passed an order that 
"for the future the Indians Traders do not presume to trust 
or give any credit to the Indians and that the aforesaid Com- 
missioners take care to see this Order observed. ' : How com- 
plete was the government's authority over these tributary 
tribes appears from the act of the Tuscarora in 1739 in peti- 
tioning the governor for permission to choose a "king." The 
governor granted the petition, fixed the time and place of elec- 
tion, and directed that the Indians "present to his Excellency 
for his approbation such Person as they shall agree upon and 
make choice for their King. ' ' 

The government's control over the Indians' inter-tribal 
relations was necessary to the preservation of peace in the set- 
tlements, for while these tributary tribes were subdued by the 
whites they still nourished their hereditary enmities among 
themselves which might at any time involve the whites as well 
as the red men. The Tuscarora were particularly hard to 
hold in the leash. They could not forget that in the days <>f 
their power they had domineered over the surrounding tribes, 
nor altogether forego that pleasure in the days of their de- 
cline. In 1730 they fell upon "the Saponins and other petty 
Nations associated with them," in Virginia, and drove them to 
seek refuge among the Catawba. For the Catawba they cher 
ished a consuming hatred. In their life-and-death struggle 
against European civilization in 1711-1713, Catawba warriors 
had gone to the aid of their enemies, and half a century later, 
when Bishop Spangenberg passed through their reservation 
on his way to the Catawba country they sent by him a message 
of defiance to their enemies asking him to tell them "that there 
were enough young men among them who knew the way to the 
Catawba Town." In 1732 Burrington wrote that "there ha])- 


pens small acts of Hostility now and then in hunting on the 
upper parts of Cape Fear River between our Indians and the 
Cataubes of South Carolina, which we look to be for our ad- 
vantage, thinking Indians love and will be doing a little mis- 
chief, therefore had rather they should act it upon their own 
tawny race than the English. ' ' 

But Burrington overlooked the danger of this policy to the 
whites, arising from the jealousy with which each colony 
guarded the interests of its tributary tribes. In 1730 the Vir- 
ginia government protested vigorously to the North Carolina 
government against the attacks of the Tuscarora on the Sapo- 
nies and trouble between the two colonies was averted onlv 
by Burrington 's prompt action in demanding redress from the 
Carolina Indians. The mutual hostility between the Tusca- 
rora and the Catawba continually stirred up ill feeling between 
the two Carolinas. The Catawba dwelt along the waters of 
the Catawba River and were well known to the Carolinians as 
allies in the Tuscarora War and as enemies in the Yamassee 
War. When John Lawson passed through their country in 
1701 he found them a "powerful nation." They then num- 
bered perhaps 7,000 people, were able to call 1,500 warriors 
to battle, and dwelt in numerous towns scattered over an ex- 
tensive territory. Thirty years later continuous warfare with 
the more powerful Tuscarora and Cherokee nations, small- 
pox, and various forms of debauchery introduced by white 
traders had decreased their number to less than 500 warriors, 
reduced their towns to six miserable villages, and contracted 
their territory to a narrow strip along the Catawba River not 
more than twenty miles in length. Except in 1715, when they 
joined the Yamassee conspiracy, they had been constant and 
loyal friends of the English. South Carolina asserted juris- 
diction over them and, as we have seen, in her boundary line 
agreement with North Carolina, stipulated that the line should 
be so run as to throw their reservation wholly within her ter- 

The Catawba wore hereditary enemies of the Tusca- 
rora, who constantly raided their possessions in South 
Carolina. Unfortunately in these raids they were often 
joined by warriors from the Five Nations who seized or 
destroyed horses, cattle, slaves, and other property with- 
out inquiring whether they belonged to their enemies or 
to the whites. These raids finally became so numerous and so 
destructive that in 1730 the settlers complained to Governor 
Johnson and Johnson sent William Wattis as his agent to the 


Tuscarora to demand satisfaction for their past conduct and 
guarantees for the future. At his request Burrington sum- 
moned the Tuscarora chiefs to a conference with himself and 
the Council and in their presence Wattis presented South 
Carolina 's complaints and demands. He sought to frighten the 
Tuscarora chiefs into compliance by telling them that if they 
refused ''our Governor would look on them as Enemys and 
send the Cherokees and Catawbos to cut them off." His 
charges they met with denial of guilt, and his threat they re- 
ceived with scorn. The only interest they showed in it was 
to ask whether any "white men would come with the Catawbos 
to war," and to demand "why could we not let them that 
were Indians alone make war against Indians without med- 
dling with it. " 

South Carolina's threat alarmed Burrington much more 
than it did the Tuscarora. The latter, having received as- 
surances of support from the Five Nations, told Burrington 
that while they desired to keep the peace with the whites, yet 
if South Carolina sent white men against them "it may bring 
on a Warr with the English in General, and may be a matter 
of consequence to the Country." Burrington knew this was 
no idle threat but was unable to impress the seriousness of 
the situation on Governor Johnson. He therefore turned to 
the Board of Trade to which he wrote: "We expect our In- 
dians will be attackt by those of South Carolina. The North- 
ern Indians called the Five Nations are in Alliance and Amity 
with ours and have promised to assist them with a Thousand 
men part of which are already come into this Province." The 
Board of Trade fully appreciated the gravity of the matter 
and wrote at once to both Burrington and Johnson to hold 
their Indians in check and directed Governor William Cosby 
of New York "to interpose his authority with the five Indian 
Nations" to keep them quiet, It thought the situation so 
grave that it appealed to the queen, then acting as regent in 
the absence of the king, to use her personal authority with 
the governors of the Carolinas to prevent a war that would 
certainly "be of the most fatal Consequences to both these 

South Carolina therefore did not carry out her threat, but 
the situation strained her relations with North Carolina for a 
lon^ time. Although the Catawba were allies of the English, 
and tributaries to a sister colony, they offered every obstacle 
in their power to the settlement of the region in North Caro- 
lina along the upper Pee Dee and Catawba rivers which the 


governors of South Carolina, particularly Governor Glen, in- 
sisted ought to be given to that colony. About 300,000 acres 
of the McCulloh grant were within this region and were 
''claimed by the Catauboe Indians and which they will by 
no means permit any white Settlers thereon." Again, in 1749, 
''several wicked and evil disposed Persons in Anson County 
had the boldness and Insolence to declare that the 
present Settlers in that County had no right to the Lands by 
them possessed and that even his Majesty had no right to 
those Lands. Which declaration was made to and in presence 
of the Catawba Indians to the apparent disturbance of the 
said settlement of Anson County and tending to breed and 
foment a misunderstanding between his Majesty's said sub- 
jects and the said Catawba Indians." The North Carolinians 
believed — and during the administration of Governor Glen, 
1743-1756, had grounds for their belief — that these activities 
were instigated and supported by officials of the South Caro- 
lina government. 

To the west of the Catawba dwelt their powerful and in- 
veterate enemies, the Cherokee. With the exception of the 
Five Nations, the Cherokee were historically the most im- 
portant Indian nation in American history. They were, as 
already stated, "the mountaineers of the South, holding the 
entire Allegheny region from the interlocking headstreams of 
the Kanawha and Tennessee southward almost to the site of 
Atlanta, and from the Blue Ridge on the east to the Cumber- 
land Range on the west, a territory embracing an area of 
about 40,000 square miles, now included in the states of Vir- 
ginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 
and Alabama." 2 Those who dwelt in the Keowee Valley in 
South Carolina were known as the Lower Cherokee, those on 
the Little Tennessee as the Middle Cherokee, and those on 
the Holston as the Upper Cherokee. According to the best 
authorities they had in 1735 "sixty-four towns and villages, 
populous and full of children," with a total population of not 
less than 17,000 of whom 6,000 were fighting men. Four years 
later an epidemic of small-pox, brought to Carolina in a slave 
ship, swept away nearly half their number. The awful mor- 
tality was due largely to their ignorance of this new and 
strange disease. Knowing no proper remedy for it, the poor 
savages sought relief in the Indian's universal panacea for 

2 Moonev, James: Myths of the Cherokee. (Nineteenth Annual 
Report of American Bureau of Ethnology, Part I, p. 14.) 


all "strong" sickness, viz., cold plunge baths in the running 
streams. No worse treatment could have been devised. The 
pestilence swept unchecked from town to town. Despair fell 
upon the nation. The priests, losing faith in their ancient 
ordinances, threw away their sacred paraphernalia. Hundreds 
of warriors on beholding their frightful disfigurement com- 
mitted suicide. In spite of these losses, however, the Chero- 
kee remained strong in numbers and in geographical position. 
Before 1730 they treated with the white man on terms of 
equality and had never bowed to his yoke ; while both French 
and English eagerly sought alliance with them in their strug- 
gle for the mastery in North America. 

The French, after planting their first permanent settle- 
ment in the South at Biloxi Bay, in 1699, had made rapid 
advances upon the back country of the Carolinas. By 1714 
they had reached the Coosa Eiver on which, a few miles above 
the site of Montgomery, they had built Fort Toulouse, known 
to the English as "the fort at the Albamas." They were so 
much more successful in their dealings with the Indians than 
the English that by 1730 most of the tribes between the settle- 
ments of the European rivals were either in active alliance 
with them or strongly disposed in their favor. In 1721 the 
Board of Trade in a report to the king described the situa- 
tion as follows: "The Indian Nations lying between Carolina 
and the French settlements on the Mississippi are about 9,200 
fighting men of which number 3,400 whom we formerly Traded 
with are entirely debauched to the French Interest by their 
new settlement and Fort at the Albamas. About 2,000 more 
* Trade at present indifferently with both, but it is 
to be feared that these likewise will be debauched by the 
French unless proper means be used to keep them in your 
Majesty's Interest. The remaining 3,800 'Indians are the 
Cherokees, a Warlike Nation Inhabiting the Apalatche Moun- 
tains, these being still at enmity with the French might with 
less difficulty be secured, and it certainly is of the highest 
consequence that they should be engaged in your Majestys In- 
terest, for should they once take another part not only Caro- 
lina but Virginia likewise would be exposed to their Excur- 

Eecognizing the wisdom of this advice, the royal govern- 
ment immediately after the transfer of the Carolinas to the 
Crown, dispatched Sir Alexander Gumming on a secret mis- 
sion to the Cherokee. The king's envoy met the Cherokee 
chiefs and warriors at their ancient town of Nequassee, the 


present Franklin, North Carolina, in April, 1730. His bold 
bearing so impressed the red men that they conceded all of 
his demands and agreed to an alliance with the English. In 
order to cement this alliance, Gumming persuaded them to 
send a delegation of seven chiefs to England. At Whitehall 
these grim savages of the New World were received by the 
king with great solemnity, and there in the name of their 
people, did homage to him by laying at his feet the "crown" 
of their nation which consisted of four scalps of enemies and 
five eagle tails, the "feathers of peace." On September 9, 
1730, they concluded with the Board of Trade a treaty in which 
they stipulated: To live together with the English "as the 
children of one Family whereof the Great King is a kind and 
loving Father;" to be "always ready at the Governor's com- 
mand to fight against any Nation whether they be white men 
or Indians who shall dare to molest or hurt the English;" to 
"take care to keep the trading path clean and that there be 
no blood in the path where the English white men tread;" 
not "to trade with the white men of any other Nation but the 
English nor permit white men of any other Nation to build 
any Forts, Cabins, or plant corn amongst them;" to appre- 
hend and deliver "any Negro slaves [who] shall run away 
into the woods from their English masters;" to leave to 
punishment by due process of English law any Indian who 
should kill an Englishman, and any Englishman who should 
kill an Indian. This treaty was confirmed with solemn cere- 
mony by both the contracting parties. The English as a 
token of friendship gave the red men a substantial supply of 
guns, ammunition, and red paint, while Chief Scalilasken Ket- 
augusta, in behalf of his colleagues, concluded an eloquent 
harangue by "laying down his Feathers upon the table," and 
saying, "This is our way of talking which is the same to us 
as your letters in the Book are to you, and to you Beloved 
Men we deliver these feathers in confirmation of all we have 
said and of our Agreement to your Articles." Soon after this 
ceremony the chiefs took ship for Carolina where they ar- 
rived, wrote Governor Johnson, "in good health and mightily 
well satisfied with His Majesty's bounty to them." 

The relations of the colonies with the great Indian nations, 
such as the Iroquois, the Cherokee, and the Creeks, grew in 
importance as the rivalry between the French and the English 
grew in intensity. These tribes occupied such vast stretches 
of territory which touched upon so many colonies, that it soon 
became apparent that questions growing out of their rela- 


tions could not be 'considered merely as provincial questions. 
In 1757, the North Carolina Assembly declared that the "many 
flagrant Frauds and Abuses" committed by white traders in 
their commercial relations with the Indians, "cannot but tend 
to alienate their Affections, and give the French the greater 
opportunity of insinuating themselves and carrying on their 
destructive Schemes against the British Colonies." Both the 
mother country and the colonies, therefore, came to see that 
all such Indian affairs were really imperial questions, and the 
king acting upon the advice of the Board of Trade decided 
to take them, under the immediate supervision of the Crown. 
In 1757, therefore, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
and Georgia were erected into a southern department for 
Indian affairs and Edmund Atkins was commissioned by the 
Crown "Agent for and Superintendent of the Affairs of the 
several Nations or Tribes of Indians inhabiting the Frontiers 
of [those provinces] and their Confederates." The object 
aimed at, as Governor Dobbs said, was "to connect all our 
Indian Allies in one Interest in Conjunction with the other 
provinces in which the Indians reside." Its success of course 
depended upon the sympathetic co-operation of the several 
colonies. In December, 1757, therefore, the North Carolina 
Assembly passed an act which placed trade with the Catawba, 
Cherokee and other "Western Indians within the limits of 
this Province" completely under the supervision of Atkins 
and his successors, and clothed them with ample power to en- 
force their authority. In 1763 Atkins was succeeded by Cap- 
tain John Stuart who continued in office until after the Revo- 
lution had removed the British government as a factor in In- 
dian affairs. 

Vol. 1 — 17 


In their political and commercial affairs the colonies felt 
their connection with the mother country chiefly in its bur- 
dens and restrictions, but they found some compensation in 
the protection which their connection with the British Empire 
assured them. Their peace and safety were constantly threat- 
ened from three allied sources. First there were enemy In- 
dians whose presence was an ever threatening danger. Then 
the southern colonies in particular were never free from the 
menace of the Spaniards in Florida for, as Fiske graphically 
puts it, Carolina was "the border region where English and 
Spanish America marched upon each other." But greater 
than the danger from either Indians or Spaniards was the 
danger from the French. In 1608, one j^ear after the found- 
ing of Jamestown, Champlain founded Quebec and secured 
for France the region drained by the St. Lawrence ; in 1682 
La Salle, inspired by dreams of a great continental empire, 
seized the mouth of the Mississippi and established the su- 
premacy of France over all the region drained by the Father 
of Waters. Between these two distant heads, stretched the 
vast empire of New France. The interests of New France 
clashed with those of New England everywhere along their 
far-flung frontiers, and these clashing interests brought the 
two colonial empires into a century-long life-and-death strug- 
gle for supremacy in North America. The several stages of 
this contest were marked by four wars known in American 
history as King William's War (1689-1697), Queen Anne's 
War (1702-1713), King George's War (1744-1748), and the 
French and Indian War (1754-1763). 

For North Carolina and South Carolina, the proximity 
of the Spanish and French settlements held a three-fold dan- 
ger. There were, first, the danger of a direct attack upon their 
unprotected coast towns ; second, the danger of an indirect at- 
tack through the Indians ; and, third, the danger of being cut 



off entirely from farther westward expansion. The two colo- 
nies were fully alive to the seriousness of their situation and 
as we have seen freely assisted each other in meeting- it. But 
they also realized that the menace was not to them alone, but 
to the whole of British- America and they long sought in vain 
to impress the home government with this view. St. Augus- 
tine afforded the enemy an excellent base for operations 
against the Carolinas both by land and by sea. In 1686 a 
Spanish force from St. Augustine invaded South Carolina and 
destroyed the colony at Port Royal. In 1702, upon the out- 
break of Queen Anne's War, South Carolina sent an expedi- 
tion against St. Augustine, but it ended in disaster. Pour 
years later a combined French and Spanish squadron attacked 
Charleston, but was beaten off with heavy losses. During 
these wars, according to Governor Burrington. parties from 
French and Spanish privateers and men-of-war "frequently 
landed and plundered" the coast of North Carolina, and the 
colony was put to "great expenses" in "establishing a force 
to repell them." Two of the Lords Proprietors declared, 
"That in 1707 when Carolina was attacked by the French it 
cost the Province twenty thousand pounds and that neither 
His Majesty nor any of his predecessors had been at any 
charge from the first grant to defend the said Province against 
the French or other enemies. ' ' 

It was, however, by their indirect attacks through the In- 
dians that the Spaniards and the French inflicted the greatest 
losses upon the Carolinas. In 1715 they organized the great 
Indian conspiracy that resulted in the Yamassee War. These 
rival and generally hostile tribes, said a group of South Caro- 
lina merchants in a petition to the king for aid, "never yet 
had policy enough to form themselves into Alliances, and 
would not in all Probability have proceeded so far at this 
time had they not been incouraged, directed and supplied by 
the Spaniards at St. Augustine and the French at Moville 
[Mobile] and their other Neighbouring Settlements. " In a let- 
ter to Lord Townsend, the king's principle secretary of state, 
Governor Craven declared that if South Carolina were de- 
stroyed, as at one time seemed not improbable, "the French 
from Moville, or from Canada, or front old France" would 
take possession and "threaten the whole British Settlements." 
The Carolina officials could not make the home government 
understand that the attack was not merely a local Indian out- 
break, aimed at South Carolina alone, but that it was a phase 
of the general policy of the French in their struggle for su- 


premacy in America and was aimed at all the British Amer- 
ican dominions. 

Even more serious than these wars, because if successful 
more permanent in their results, were the French plans in 
the Mississippi Valley. In a memorial to the Board of Trade, 
in 1716, Richard Beresford, of South Carolina, called atten- 
tion to the fact that the French along the Mississippi River 
had already encroached "very far within the bounds of the 
Charter of Carolina" and had "settled themselves on the 
back of the improved part of that Province." If permitted 
to remain there they would become a permanent obstacle to 
the westward march of English settlements, confining them to 
the narrow region between the Atlantic and the Alleghanies. 
Yet all efforts to arouse the home authorities to a realization 
of the danger were vain. The Lords Proprietors could not, 
and as long as the Carolinas remained proprietary colonies, 
the Crown would not lift a hand in their defence. It was not 
until after South Carolina, in 1719, had thrown off the rule 
of the Lords Proprietors, largely because of their inability 
to aid in the defence of the colony, that the Board of Trade 
manifested any interest in the situation. In 1720 it advised 
(.he king that considering that the people of South Carolina 
"have lately shaken off the Proprietors Government, as in- 
capable of affording them protection, [and] that the In- 
habitants are exposed to incursions of the Barbarous Indians, 
[and] to the encroachments of their European neighbours," 
he should forthwith send a force for the defence of that 
colony. But this advice, like the repeated appeals of the 
colonies, went unheeded and the Carolinas were left to their 
own resources. 

The home government, however, finally awaked to a reali- 
zation of the stakes at issue and in the third of the series of 
wars for supremacy in America undertook to co-operate with 
the colonies on a large scale. The war really began in 1739 
when England declared war on Spain, though France did not 
formally enter the struggle until five years later. In attack- 
ing Spain, England's purpose was to break down the Spanish 
colonial system and open Spanish-American ports to English 
commerce. The government accordingly planned to strike a 
blow at some vital point in Spain's American colonies with a 
combined force of British and American troops. In the sum- 
mer of 1740, therefore, the king called upon the colonies for 
their contingents of men and money. This was the first call 
ever made upon them as a whole for co-operation in an im- 


perial enterprise, and the colonies responded with enthusiasm. 
Throughout the summer preparations were actively pushed 
forward both in England and in America, and in October a 
fleet of thirty ships of the line and ninety transports, carry- 
ing 15,000 sailors and 12,000 soldiers sailed from Spithead, 
England, for Jamaica, where they were joined by American 
troops from all the colonies except New Hampshire, Delaware, 
South Carolina, and Georgia. Delaware's contingent was 
probably counted in that of Pennsylvania, while those from 
South Carolina and Georgia were probably kept at home to 
protect their frontiers from attack by the Spaniards of Flor- 
ida. The other nine colonies sent thirty-six companies of 100 
men each. Of these Massachusetts contributed six, Rhode 
Island two, Connecticut two, New York five, New Jersey two, 
Pennsylvania eight, Maryland three, Virginia four, and North 
Carolina four. 

In July, 1740, Governor Gabriel Johnston received in- 
structions from the king directing him to convene the. Assem- 
bly and inform it of the government's plans. The king de- 
clared that he "had not thought fit to fix any particular quota" 
for the colony as he did not want to place any limitation on 
its zeal, but he expected it to exert itself in the common cause 
as much as its circumstances would allow. In reply to the 
governor's message, the Assembly promised to "contribute 
to the utmost" of its power and assured him that "no Colony 
hath with more chearfullness contributed than we shall to 
forward the intended descent upon some of the Spanish Colo- 
nies." This promise was promptly made good. The Assem- 
bly passed an act levying a tax of three shillings on each poll 
in the colony, payable, owing to the scarcity of money among 
the people, in "commodities of the country" at fixed rates, 
provided adequate machinery for its prompt collection, and 
directed that warehouses be erected for storing the proceeds. 
The governor expressed the "highest satisfaction" at the As- 
sembly 's action, saying : ' ' You have now given evident proof 
of your unfeigned zeal for his Majesty's service and consider- 
ing the circumstances of the country contributed as liberally 
as any of our neighbouring colonies." He estimated the levy 
authorized by the Assembly at £1,200 sterling, which was suffi- 
cient to equip and subsist four companies of 100 men each until 
they could join the army at Jamaica when they would be put 
on the payroll of the Crown. 

The governor's call for recruits brought a prompt re- 
sponse. Four companies containing a total of 400 men, a force 


in proportion to population equivalent to 25,000 at the pres- 
ent time, were quickly enrolled. "I have good reason to be- 
lieve," wrote the governor to the Duke of Newcastle, "that 
we could easily have raised 200 more if it had been possible to 
negotiate the bills of exchange in this part of the continent; 
but as that was impracticable, we were obliged to rest sat- 
isfied with four companies." Three of these companies were 
recruited in the Albemarle section, the other at Cape Fear. 
The Albemarle companies were under command of Captains 
Halton, Coletrain, and Pratt, the Cape Fear company under 
Captain James Innes. The former embarked at Edenton early 
in November, 1740, and sailed for Wilmington where they 
were joined by Captain Innes' company. Says the Wilmington 
correspondent of the South Carolina Gazette, November 24, 
1740: "The 15th Inst. Capt. James Innes, with his compleat 
Company of Men, went on board the Transport to proceed 
for the General Rendezvous. They were in general brisk and 
hearty, and long for Nothing so much as a favorable Wind, 
that they may be among the first in Action. Capt. Innes has 
taken out Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and if any Spanish 
Ship is to be met with, he doubts not of giving a proper ac- 
count of them. The Governor and Assembly of 
this Province proceeded with great Spirit on this Occasion, 
the lower House chearfully granted an Aid to his Majesty 
of £1500 Sterling, to assist in Victualling and Transporting 
their Quota of Troops. When so poor a Province gives such 
Testimony of their Zeal and Spirit against our haughty En- 
emy, it is to be hoped the Ministry at Home will be convinced 
that it is the Voice of all his Majesty's Subjects, both at home 
and abroad, Humble the proud Spaniard, bring down his 
haughty Looks." 

From Wilmington the North Carolina companies sailed 
directly for Jamaica where they joined the united British 
and colonial forces. The squadron was under the command 
of Admiral Edward Vernon; the army was first under Lord 
Cathcart, and after his death under General Wentworth. Sir 
William Gooch, then governor of Virginia, was in immediate 
command of the "American Regiments." In February, 1741, 
the fleet sailed to attack Cartagena on the coast of Venezuela. 
From the first the expedition was doomed to failure. Ill-feel- 
ing and rivalry between the land forces and the naval forces 
thwarted every movement. The only successful effort made 
throughout the campaign was the assault on Boca-Chica (little 
mouth), the entrance to the harbor of Cartagena. North Caro- 


Una troops participated in this attack. The forts were car- 
ried, the fleet entered the harbor, and troops were landed to 
attack the forts defending the town. This attack on the forts 
was repulsed with severe losses, heavy rains set in, an epi- 
demic of fever broke out among the troops, and within less 
than two days half of them were dead or otherwise incapaci- 
tated for service. Nothing was left but acknowledgment of 
defeat, re-embarkation and return to Jamaica. The lives of 
20,000 men had been sacrificed to the incompetency and jeal- 
ousy of the commanding officers. Of the North Carolina con- 
tingent but few survived. The Cape Fear company, originally 
100 strong, reached Wilmington in January, 1743, reduced 
to 25 men. 

North Carolina's losses on this expedition, however, were 
not comparable to those she suffered at home. For eight years 
Spanish and French privateers infested her waters, captured 
her ships, ravaged her coasts, plundered her towns, and levied 
tribute upon her inhabitants almost with impunity. In May, 
1741, they captured two merchantmen out of Edenton "be- 
fore they had been half an hour at sea," while the owner of 
one of them "had the Mortification to see his Vessel and 
Cargo taken before his face as he stood on the shore." With- 
in the next ten days, four other ships fell victims to the same 
privateers. On May 12th, a sloop bound from North Caro- 
lina to Hull, England, was captured off Cape Fear. In July 
another merchantman was taken "within the Bar of Ocra- 
coke;" the owner estimated his loss at £700 sterling. The 
same privateer had already taken six other prizes. In August 
reports from Wilmington mentioned the capture of a schooner 
and a sloop besides "many other vessels" bound for that port. 
The Indian Queen, North Carolina to Bristol, was taken in 
October. Similar reports run through the succeeding years. 
In June, 1747, it was reported "that there are now no less 
than 9 Spanish Privateers cruizing on this coast," The 
Molly, from Cape Fear to Barbados; the Rebecca, from 
Charleston to 'Cape Fear; the John and Mary, from Cape 
Fear to Bristol, "with a Cargo of Pitch, Tar and Turpen- 
tine;" and an unnamed vessel from London to Cape Fear, 
were but a few of their prizes. In July, 1 748, three ships were 
"cut out of Ocracoke Inlet" by Spanish privateers. Of the 
great majority of captures no reports arc now available, but 
some idea of the havoc wrought in colonial commerce may be 
gathered from the shipping reports of the South Carolina 
Gazette. That periodical reported as clearing between Charles- 


ton and North Carolina ports during the five years before the 
declaration of war, 1735-1739, inclusive, eighty vessels ; dur- 
ing the five years, 1744 to 1748 inclusive, the same paper re- 
ported as clearing between the same ports only twenty-one 

It is not without interest to note that as the privateersmen 
revived memories of the deeds of "Blackbeard," so also they 
made skillful use of the same inlets and harbors that had so 
often sheltered the famous pirate. "The Spaniards," it was 
reported, in 1741, "have built themselves Tents on Ocracoke 
Island; Two of the Sloops lie in Teache's Hole," where they 
found shelter from the British men-of-war. After cruising 
about Chesapeake Bay and ravaging the Virginia coast, says 
a report in July, 1741, they sought safety from the Hector, 
a 40-gun man-of-war, "in Teache's Hole in North Carolina 
where they landed, killed as many Cattle as they wanted, and 
tallowed their Vessels' Bottoms." Another favorite rendez- 
vous was Lookout harbor "where they wood, water, kill Cat- 
tle, and carry their Prizes till they are ready to go (with 
them) to their respective Homes. ' ' Men-of-war were afraid to 
seek them in Lookout harbor because of their "Want of 
Knowledge of it. ' ' 

Eesistance to the Spaniards was feeble and spasmodic. 
The Assembly made appropriations for the erection of forts 
at Ocracoke, Core Sound, Bear Inlet, and Cape Fear, but 
none of them proved of any service. Fort Johnston, named 
in honor of the governor, afterwards played an important 
part in the history of the Cape Fear region, but during the 
Spanish "War was ineffective as a defence against the enemy. 
In June, 1739, before the declaration of war and in anticipa- 
tion of it, the king authorized Governor Johnston to issue 
letters of marque and reprisal against Spanish shipping, and 
a few privateers were fitted out at Wilmington, but the results 
of their work were negligible. For instance, in July, 1741, 
Wilmington merchants fitted out two privateers, one of twen- 
ty-four guns, Captain George Walker, the other a small 
sloop, Captain Daniel Dunbibin, "to go in quest of the Span- 
ish Privateers which infest this Coast," but as late as Sep- 
tember no news had been received of them. British men-of- 
war also patrolled the coast. There were the Hector, forty 
guns, Captain Sir Yelverton Peyton, the Tartar, Captain 
George Townsend, the Swift, Captain Bladwell, the Cruizer, 
and another, name not mentioned, under command of Cap- 
tain Peacock. But the merchants found grounds for 


complaining of the lack of vigilance even among the men-of- 
war, and it was openly charged that "the Spaniards were so 

encouraged by the Indolence, if not the C ce [cowardice ] 

of Sir Y — — n " [Yelverton], that they ravaged the coast with 
impunity. Other British commanders, however, were more 
active. In July, 1741, Captain Peacock compelled the Span- 
iards to abandon their shelter at Ocraeoke and to burn "the 
Tents they had built on Ocraeoke Island." May 26, 1742, the 
Swift after an all day chase overtook a privateer off Ocra- 
eoke Inlet and engaged her in battle. The privateer, however, 
got the best of the fight, shot away the mainstays and fore- 
stays of the Swift, compelling her to put back into Wil- 
mington for repairs, and then escaped in the darkness. A few 
months later the Swift had better luck, capturing a large 
Spanish sloop which she brought into Wilmington and con- 
verted into a British privateer. 

Emboldened by their successes, the Spaniards became am- 
bitious. In 1 747 they attacked and captured the town of Beau- 
fort which they held for several days and plundered before 
being driven out. The next year their audacity reached its 
climax in an attack on Brunswick. September 3, 1748, three 
Spanish privateers, the Fortune, a sloop of 130 tons, car- 
rying ten 6-pounders and fourteen swivels, Captain Vincent 
Lopez, the Loretta, carrying four 4-pounders, four 6-pound- 
ers. and twelve swivels, Captain Joseph Leon Munroe, 
and a converted merchantman, appeared off the Cape Fear 
bar. Two days later they dropped anchor off Brunswick and 
opened fire upon the shipping there. At the same time a force 
which they had landed below the town attacked from the land 
side. Taken by surprise, the inhabitants fled in confusion. 
The enemy thereupon seized five ships "and several small 
craft" that were in the harbor, captured the collector of the 
port and several other men, and "plundered and destroyed 
everything without fear of being disturbed." 

But the inhabitants quickly recovering from their surprise 
organized a force of eighty men, under command of Captain 
William Dry, and returned to the attack. They in turn sur- 
prised their enemy in the midst of their plundering, killed or 
captured many of them, drove the others to the shelter of 
their ships, and were vigorously "pursuing their good for- 
tunes till they were saluted with a very hot fire from the com- 
modore sloop's great guns, which, however, did not 
prevent their killing or taking all the stragglers." The For- 
tune continued the bombardment till suddenly "to our great 


amazement and (it may be believed) joy, she blew up." Most 
of her crew, including her commander and all of his officers, 
perished in the explosion or were drowned. Thereupon, the 
Loretta, which had gone up the river in pursuit of a prize, 
''hoisted bloody colours," dropped down the river again, and 
opened fire "pretty smartly" on the town. But this turned 
out to be mere bluster. Soon lowering her "bloody colours," 
she "hoisted white in her shroud" and sent a flag of truce 
ashore "desiring to have liberty to go off with all the vessels, 
and promising on that condition to do no further damage." 
But Captain Dry boldly replied "that they might think them- 
selves well off to get away with their own vessel, that he could 
not consent to their carrying away any other, and would take 
care they should do no more damage; but he proposed to let 
them go without interruption if they would deliver up all the 
English prisoners they had, with everything belonging to the 
place." The Spaniard's only answer to this defiance was to 
abandon all of his prizes except the Nancy, which he had 
armed and manned with a Spanish crew, and to slip quietly 
down the river under a white flag. He anchored off Bald-Head 
and let it be known that he was ready to negotiate for an ex- 
change of prisoners. This was soon effected through a com- 
mission sent by Major John Swann who had arrived from 
Wilmington with 130 men and taken command. The Span- 
iard then put to sea and disappeared. 

In this attack, the Carolinians escaped without the loss 
of a man. They had two slightly wounded, none killed. 
Their property losses, however, were heavy for what 
the Spaniards "did not carry away they broke or cut to 
pieces." Nevertheless the Carolinians won a great triumph, 
for as they justly boasted, "notwithstanding our ignorance in 
military affairs, our want of arms and ammunition (having 
but 3 charges per man when we attacked them), the delay of 
our friends in coming to our assistance, and the small num- 
ber [we] were composed of (many of which were negroes)," 
they had beaten off a much superior enemy consisting of 220 
men and three armed ships, compelling them to abandon their 
prizes, and causing them a loss of 140 men, more than one- 
half of their force, including their commanding officer. 

The attack on Brunswick was made more than two months 
after peace had been declared. On June 17, 1748, the Board 
of Trade wrote Governor Johnston, "Preliminaries for a 
Peace have been signed at Aix-la-Chapelle by the Ministers 
of all the Powers engaged in the war." This treaty, however, 


settled none of the questions at issue between the rivals in 
America; it merely afforded them a breathing spell in which 
to prepare for a greater struggle yet to come. The French, 
much more alive to the situation than their rivals, began at 
once to take advantage of this lull in the contest. Realizing 
that something more than mere assertion of title was neces- 
sary to secure to them the territory along the Ohio and the 
Mississippi, which formed so large a part of New France, 
they built a series of strong forts to connect the two distant 
heads of their empire. By the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, therefore, the long frontier between Montreal and New 
Orleans was defended by more than sixty forts. Many of these 
forts stood on land claimed by New York, Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia, and the Carolinas, yet in these colonies, only a few 
people clearly appreciated the significance of the French move- 
ments, or understood how to check them. The most significant 
of the English counter-movements was the organization in 
London and Virginia of the Ohio Land Company for planting 
English settlements on the east bank of the Ohio River. But 
this region was also claimed by the French and it was here 
that the first clash came. In 1753 Governor Robert Dinwiddie 
of Virginia learning that the French were encroaching upon 
this territory sent Major George Washington on his famous 
mission to demand their withdrawal. Upon their refusal, Din- 
widdie ordered Washington to seize and fortify the point 
where the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers unite to form 
the Ohio. But Washington had scarcely begun his work when 
a superior force of Frenchmen appeared, drove him away and 
erected on the site he had chosen a strong fortress which they 
called Fort Duquesne. Thus began the great war which was 
to decide the mastery of North America. 

In this contest the English had the advantage of numerical 
strength and interior lines, but these advantages were fully 
offset by the unity of command and purpose which prevailed 
with the French. From Quebec to New Orleans, all New 
France moved in obedience to a single autocratic will. The 
English on the other hand were divided into thirteen separate 
governments, politically independent of each other, and 
largely self-governing. Not a soldier could be enrolled, not 
a shilling levied in any English colony until a popular as- 
sembly had been persuaded of its wisdom; and no concerted 
movement could be undertaken until many different executives 
had been consulted and many different legislative bodies, jeal- 
ous of their authority and hostile to every suggestion that 


conflicted with their local interests, had given consent. The 
French of course were aware of this situation and counted it 
as one of the strong elements in their favor. "The French," 
observed Governor Dinwiddie, in 1754, "too justly observe this 
want of connection in the Colonies, and from thence conclude 
(as they declare without reserve) that although we are vastly 
superior to them in Numbers, yet they can take and secure the 
Country before we can agree to hinder them." He thought 
that an act of Parliament might be necessary to cure the evil. 
The necessity for co-operation was clearly understood in Eng- 
land and the government urged it upon the colonies in almost 
every dispatch that crossed the Atlantic. In July, 1754, Presi- 
dent Rowan of North Carolina received a rebuke from the 
government because of his "total Silence upon that part of 
His Majesty's orders which relate to a concert with the other 
Colonies." But except among a few far-sighted leaders no 
sentiment existed in any of the English colonies in favor of 
a closer union. In 1754, at the beginning of the great war, the 
colonies rejected with scant ceremony the Albany Plan of 
Union which, especially as a war measure, had many excellent 
features to recommend it. 

The attitude of North Carolina toward the Albany Plan 
was typical of the attitude of the other colonies. Governor 
Dobbs laid it before the Assembly at its December session in 
1754 and asked for its consideration saying that the king had 
instructed him "to promote a happy union among the prov- 
inces for their General Union and Defence." But the Assem- 
bly was not interested in it. It merely ordered the plan to 
be printed and distributed among its members "for their 
Mature Consideration," but postponed discussion to the next 
session and then forgot it. Other colonies gave it even less 
consideration. The colonies had to drink deep of the cup of 
bitter experience, of suffering and disaster, before they were 
ready for a real union. 

In another respect, too, the French had an advantage over 
the English. The French settlements were little more than 
military outposts, garrisoned by trained soldiers, fully 
equipped with the best arms, and commanded by experienced 
officers. The English colonies on the other hand were indus- 
trial and agricultural communities, thoroughly non-militaris- 
tic and almost wholly unprepared for war. Here again the situ- 
ation in North Carolina was typical. Although that colony 
had just gone through the Spanish War in which its troops 
had been defeated, its coasts ravaged and its towns plundered, 


the lessons of that experience had been lost upon both gov- 
ernor and people. Not a fort protected its long frontier, and 
the money appropriated for defences along the coast had been 
largely unspent. No fortifications had been erected at Ocra- 
coke, Lookout, or Topsail Inlet. At Cape Fear, Fort Johnston 
was still unfinished and almost totally unmanned. Though the 
plan called for sixteen 9-pounders and thirty swivels, the fort 
contained only five 6-ponnders and four 2-ponnders, and had 
no regular garrison. 

Preparations for offense were no better. On paper the 
militia numbered more than 15,000 infantry and 400 cavalry, 
but long neglect had destroyed its organization. President 
Rowan complained in 1753, that from the indolence of Gover- 
nor Johnston, the militia had fallen into decay. One of the 
first acts of Governor Dobbs upon assuming the administra- 
tion in 1754 was to call for a militia return. The result was 
alarming. There were twenty-two counties each of which was 
supposed to have a fully organized regiment. The returns 
showed that in most of them there were organizations 
in name only, and in many not even that. Beaufort had no 
colonel. In Bertie County eight companies were "without offi- 
cers." Five of Edgecombe's fourteen companies reported 
their captains "removed, laid down, or dead." Every one 
of Granville's eight companies was without a captain. In New 
Hanover the major had "thrown up" his commission. In 
Orange the colonel had resigned, five captains had left the 
county or refused to serve, fourteen lieutenancies and ensign- 
cies were vacant. Tyrrell reported: "The Coll. dead, the 
Lieut. Coll. and Major have neglected to act." Four counties 
made no returns. 

The disorganization was bad, the equipment worse. Gov- 
ernor Dobbs stated that the militia were "not half armed" 
and that such arms as they had were "very bad." Great was 
his alarm upon finding "that there is not one pound of [pub- 
lic] gunpowder or shot in store in the Province, nor any 
arms;" nor were there "twelve barrels of gunpowder in the 
Province in Traders hands. " He felt compelled to appeal to the 
king for ammunition because "at present we have no credit 
and must pay double price if any is imported by merchants." 
He afterwards learned that Beaufort County had on hand fifty 
pounds of public gunpowder. Beaufort also reported 150 
pounds of large shot, but "no arms in the publick store." 
Chowan had 400 pounds of bullets and swan shot, but no pow- 
der and no arms. The militia of Johnston Countv were "in- 



differently armed," and without ammunition. Bladen, Car- 
teret, Duplin, Edgecombe, Granville, New Hanover, North- 
ampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, all re- 
ported "no arms," or "no arms or ammunition." Six coun- 
ties made no report on arms and ammunition, probably be- 
cause they had none. In Granville County the men were drilled 
with wooden clubs ! The situation was somewhat relieved by 
a gift from the king, in 1754, of 1,000 stand of arms which 
were distributed to the exposed counties on the western fron- 
tier, to the counties on the coast, and to the companies raised 
for service in Virginia. But even this relief was largely mil- 

viii d Eight Pence. 



Currency Issued During French and Indian War 

lined by the conduct of the troops in Virginia, who, after Brad- 
dock's defeat, "deserted in great numbers," taking their arms 
and equipment away with them. 

Anticipating hostilities with the French, the king in Au- 
gust, 1753, instructed the governors of all the English colo- 
nies "in case of Invasion" to co-operate with each other to 
the fullest extent. Immediately after the attack on Washing- 
ton, therefore, Governor Dinwiddie hastened to call upon the 
governors of Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland. New Jer- 
sey, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and North Carolina for 
assistance in driving the French from Fort Duquesne. Presi- 
dent Rowan, then acting-governor of North Carolina, met his 
Assembly February 19, 1754, and laid the situation before it. 
He felt sure, he said, that the people of North Carolina would 
not "sitt still and tamely see a formidable forreign Power" 


dispossess the English of their western territory, and he asked 
the Assembly to exert itself ''to the utmost in the common 
cause" by voting at once "a good and seasonable supply" for 
the support of a military force to assist in the expulsion of 
the French and their allies. His appeal found a ready re- 
sponse. The Assembly declared that the action of the French 
"must fire the Breast of every true Lover of his Country with 
the warmest Resentments" and "certainly Calls for a speedy 
Remedy." It promised "to furnish as many forces as we can 
conveniently spare towards this so necessary an Expedition" 
and "to consider of such ways and means Immediately to 
supply the Treasury as the Circumstances of our Constituants 
will admitt" for their maintenance. 

The Assembly acted promptly and liberally. Without a 
dissenting vote it appropriated £12,000 "for raising and pro- 
viding for a regiment of 750 effective Men to be sent to the 
Assistance of Virginia.' ; President Rowan did not expect 
the maintenance of these men to fall upon North Carolina 
after their arrival in Virginia, so when he ascertained later 
that each province must maintain its own soldiers, he realized 
that the £12,000 would be insufficient to support 750 men. Ac- 
cordingly he was compelled to reduce the force to 450 men. 
But even this number was 150 more than Virginia raised for 
the same expedition although it was for the defence of her own 
soil. The regiment was placed under command of Colonel 
James Innes who had commanded the Cape Fear company in 
the Cartagena expedition. Governor Dinwiddie hailed his 
appointment with great satisfaction, saying to President 
Rowan, "I am glad Your Regiment comes under the Command 
of Colo. Innes, whose Capacity, Judgment and cool Conduct, 
I have great Regard for." He testified to the sincerity of 
his sentiments by appointing Innes commander-in-chief of 
the expedition. Colonel Innes hastened at once to the front, 
leaving his regiment to follow. He arrived at Winchester, 
Virginia, July 5th, two days after the defeat of Washington's 
Virginians at Great Meadows; thence he hurried on to Wills 
Creek, where he afterwards built Fort Cumberland, 140 miles 
from Fort Duquesne, and there took formal command of the 
colonial forces. 

North Carolina's response to Virginia's appeal for aid was 
liberal, but her liberality was nullified by extravagance and 
bad management. President Rowan fixed the pay of privates 
at three shillings a day and that of officers in proportion, an 


extravagance of which Dinwiddie very justly complained be- 
cause of its effect on the Virginia troops who received only 
eight pence a day. Rowan also invested large sums in pork 
and beef to be sent to Virginia and sold for Virginia currency 
with which to pay the troops after their arrival in that col- 
onv, and on most of these transactions he lost heavily. The 
organization of the regiment proceeded slowly and this delay 
too added to the expense. Consequently the £12,000 appro- 
priated by the Assembly was entirely expended before the 
troops ever reached the front, and when they arrived at Win- 
chester, the place of rendezvous, they found that no provisions 
and no ammunition had been collected there for them. Their 
pay, too, was in arrears. Colonel Innes appealed to Governor 
Dinwiddie for advances, but Dinwiddie had no funds which 
he could use for this purpose. "I can give no orders for en- 
tertaining your regiment," he replied, "as this Dominion will 
maintain none but their own forces." Consequently the North 
Carolina regiment had scarcely reached Winchester before it 
was disbanded and sent home without having struck a blow at 
the enemy. 

That the struggle had opened so unfavorably for the Eng- 
lish was due primarily to their lack of preparation and co- 
operation. In October, 1754, therefore, Governor Dinwiddie, 
Governor Horatio Sharpe of Maryland, and Governor Dobbs 
held a conference at Williamsburg to formulate plans for a 
joint attack on Fort Duquesne. Dobbs laid these plans before 
his Assembly in December and asked for men and money to 
carry them into execution. The Assembly responded by au- 
thorizing a company of 100 men for service in Virginia and 
another of fifty men for service on the North Carolina fron- 
tier, and by voting £8,000 for their subsistence. The company 
destined for Virginia was placed under the command of the 
governor's son, Captain Edward Brice Dobbs, formerly a 
lieutenant in the English army. But before the plans of the 
Williamsburg conference could be carried out, they were su- 
perseded by others on a much larger scale, arranged in April, 
1755, at a conference held at Alexandria, Virginia, between 
several of the colonial governors and General Edward Brad- 
dock, who had been sent from England to take command of the 
forces in Virginia for the reduction of Fort Duquesne. These 
new plans called for simultaneous campaigns against the 
French on the Ohio, on the Niagara, and on Lake Champlain. 
Although North Carolina was not represented at this meet- 


ing, both governor and Assembly entered heartily into the 
arrangements. Captain Dobbs was ordered to move his com- 
pany at once to Alexandria where Braddock was assembling 
a force for the expedition against Fort Duquesne. Three 
months later all British America was thrown into consterna- 
tion by the disastrous ending of this expedition. Dobbs ' North 
Carolinians, being absent at the time from the main army on 
a scouting expedition, escaped destruction, but many of them, 
sharing the general demoralization of the British forces, de- 
serted and made their way back home. With what remained 
Captain Dobbs joined Colonel Innes at Fort Cumberland, 
where he continued for nearly a year helping to guard the Vir- 
ginia frontier. 

Immediately after Braddock 's defeat, Governor Dobbs con- 
vened the Assembly in special session and in a sensible, well- 
written address pointed out the seriousness of the situation 
and suggested that "a proper sum cheerfully granted at once 
will accomplish what a very great sum may not do hereafter." 
The Assembly promptly voted a supply of £10,000 and author- 
ized the governor to raise three new companies "to protect 
the Frontier of this Province and to assist the other Colonies 
in Defence of his Majesty's Territories." To command these 
companies, the governor commissioned Caleb Grainger, Thom- 
as Arbuthnot, and Thomas McManus captains and sent them 
to New York to aid in the operations against the French at 
Niagara and Crown Point. At the same time he ordered 
Captain Dobbs to withdraw his company from Fort Cumber- 
land and join the other North Carolina companies in New 
York. Captain Dobbs, promoted to the rank of major, was 
appointed to command the battalion. The governor declared 
that he took this action because he found that if Captain 
Dobbs ' company remained in Virginia it would only do guard 
duty on the frontier, without making any attempt against 
Fort Duquesne, since the English there had no officers com- 
petent to make a plan of operations, nor any artillery; nor 
was there any likelihood of any assistance from either Mary- 
land or Pennsylvania, "as they don't seem Zealous for the 
Common Cause of the Colonies." The North Carolina troops 
arrived at New York May 31st, and shared in the disasters 
which resulted in the loss of Oswego and the failure to wrest 
Crown Point from the French. Since the capture of Oswego 
threw open to the enemy the entire English frontier from 
New York to Georgia, problems of home defence so strained 

Vol. I— If 


the resources of the colony that North Carolina was unable to 
continue to support her troops in New York ; the governor ac- 
cordingly directed their officers to try to induce the men to 
enlist either in the Loyal American Regiment, or in the regu- 
lars. Those who took neither course were allowed to return 
to North Carolina. 

After the loss of Oswego, the Earl of Loudoun, comman- 
der-in-chief of the British forces in America, notified the 
southern governors to prepare for the defence of their fron- 
tiers since the French then had free access by the Great Lakes 
to send troops to the Ohio, and also to attack them through 
their Indian allies. The situation was so serious that he called 
a conference at Philadelphia, March 15, 1757, of Dobbs, Din- 
widdie, Sharpe, and Denny of Pennsylvania, that he might 
"concert in Conjunction with them a Plan for the Defence of 
the Southern Provinces." He informed the governors that 
since the greater part of the British troops in America would 
be needed in the northern campaign, he could give the southern 
colonies only 1,200 regulars, for the rest they would have to 
shift for themselves. It was agreed, therefore, that they 
should raise 3,800 men, distributed as follows : Pennsylvania 
1,400, Maryland 500, Virginia 1,000, North Carolina 400, and 
South Carolina 500, making with the regulars, 5,000 men. 
Of these, 2,000 were to be used in defence of South Carolina 
and Georgia which were threatened with attack by sea as well 
as by land. Returning from this conference, Dobbs imme- 
diately convened the Assembly, and in a brief and pointed mes- 
sage explained the agreement he had made for the province 
and asked for the means to carry it out. The Assembly prom- 
ised, in spite of the large debt already contracted in the com- 
mon cause, to vote the necessary supplies. An act was 
accordingly passed appropriating £5,300 and providing for 200 
men "to be imployed for the service of South Carolina or at 
home in case not demanded or wanted there." These troops 
were speedily raised and ordered to South Carolina under 
command of Colonel Henry Bouquet, the British officer as- 
signed to command in the southern colonies. At the same 
time, Governor Dobbs ordered the militia in the counties along 
the South Carolina border to be ready to join Colonel Bouquet 
at his command without waiting for further orders from him. 
However, they were never called upon for active service. 

The summer of 1757 was one of the gloomiest in the annals 


of the British Empire. Success everywhere crowned the arms 
of France. In Europe disasters followed each other so rap- 
idly, and some of them were so disgraceful, that Lord Ches- 
terfield exclaimed in despair, "We are no longer a nation!" 
In America, Braddock's army had been destroyed; Oswego 
had fallen; the Crown Point expedition had failed; Fort 
William Henry had been captured. New France "stretched 
without a break over the vast territory from Louisiana to the 
St. Lawrence, ' ' 1 and not an English fort or an English hamlet 
remained in the basin of the St. Lawrence, or in all the valley 
of the Ohio. In the wigwams of the red men the prestige of 
the British arms had been so utterly destroyed that the Indians 
called Montcalm, "the famous man who tramples the English 
under his feet." 2 But a change was at hand. In July, a new 
force came into the contest which was destined in a few brief 
months to wrest from France every foot of her American em- 
pire and assure to men of the English-speaking race complete 
supremacy on the continent of North America. This force was 
the genius of William Pitt, "the greatest war minister and 
organizer of victory that the world has seen." 3 Under his 
leadership the year 1758 was as glorious as that of 1757 had 
been gloomy. In every quarter of the globe the arms of Eng- 
land were victorious. In Europe and in Asia victory followed 
victory with dazzling rapidity. In America Louisburg fell, 
Fort Frontenac surrendered, and Fort Duquesne was cap- 
tured. ' ' We are forced to ask every morning, ' ' wrote Horace 
Walpole, "what new victory there is, for fear of missing one." 
The Assembly of North Carolina had quarreled with Dobbs, 
but the words and spirit of Pitt inspired it, "notwithstanding 
the indigency of the country, ' ' to renewed efforts in support of 
the war. On December 30, 1757, Pitt called upon the province, 
together with other southern colonies, for a force to reduce 
Fort Duquesne. He appealed to their pride and patriotism by 
declaring that he would not ' ' limit the Zeal and Ardor of any 
of His Majesty's Provinces" by suggesting the number of 
troops for it to raise, but asked each for "as large a Body 
of Men * as the Number of its Inhabitants may 

1 Green : Short History of the English People. Revised edition, 
p. 748. 

2 Parkman : Montcalm and Wolfe, Vol. I, p. 489. 

3 Fiske : New France and New England, p. 315. 


allow. ' ' The North Carolina Assembly, pleading as its excuse 
for not doing more that the colony's debts incurred in defence 
not of itself alone, but also of Virginia, New York, and South 
Carolina, amounted "to above forty Shillings each Taxable," 
which was "more than the Currency at present circulating 
among us," voted an aid of £7,000 and 300 men. It requested 
that these troops be sent to General John Forbes, whom Pitt 
had sent to Virginia to command the expedition, ' ' without loss 
of time." Governor Dobbs placed this battalion under the 
command of Major Hugh Waddell, a young officer whose serv- 
ices on the North Carolina frontier had already attracted wide 
attention. Waddell raised, organized, and equipped his battal- 
ion with dispatch, and marched them to join the forces of 
General Forbes. 

Very different was Forbes' course from that of Braddock, 
No foolish boastings of the superior prowess of British reg- 
ulars, no equally foolish contempt for the prowess of his foe, 
no scorn of his provincial troops and their officers, no neglect 
of the principles of frontier warfare, betrayed him to his ruin. 
Among his colonial troops Hugh Waddell and his Carolinians 
stootl high in his esteem. Waddell, wrote Governor Dobbs, 
"had great honour done him being employed in all recon- 
noitering parties ; and dressed and acted as an Indian ; and his 
Sergeant Rogers took the only Indian prisoner who gave Mr. 
Forbes certain intelligence of the Forces in Fort Duquesne 
upon which they resolved to proceed." The reference to 
Sergeant Eogers is to the following incident. Winter had 
set in and the British general, with his army in a mountainous 
region, ill prepared to pass the winter in such a wilderness, or 
to lay a winter seige to a strongly fortified fort, and without 
accurate information of his enemy's force, was in a dilemma 
whether to retire to a more favorable position for the winter, 
or to push on. He therefore offered a reward of £50 to any one 
who would capture an Indian from whom information as to 
the enemy's situation could be obtained. Sergeant John 
Rogers, of Waddell 's command, won this reward by bringing 
in an Indian who told Forbes that if he would push resolutely 
on, the French would evacuate Fort Duquesne. The British 
commander followed the red man's advice. Upon his ap- 
proach, the French garrison fled, and Fort Duquesne, dis- 
mantled and partially destroyed, fell without a blow into the 


hands of the English general who immediately renamed it Fort 
Pitt, because as he said in a letter to Pitt, "it was in some 
measure the being actuated by your spirit that now makes me 
master of the place. ' ' 

The victories of 1758, together with the fall of Quebec in 
1759, removed the French as a serious factor in the war and 
brought peace with them in sight. But the war was not at an 
end for the colonies still had to reckon with the Indians. In the 
North the confederated tribes under Pontiac continued to 
make war on the English, while in the South the Cherokee 
warriors who had acted as allies of the British against Fort 
Duquesne returned from that expedition to arouse their tribe 
to hostilities. In 1755 they could call to arms more than 2,500 
warriors. Besides the Cherokee, the two Carolinas had also 
to reckon with the Catawba who had, in 1755, about 250 
warriors. Both Cherokee and Catawba were nominally 
friends of the English, but for several years the French had 
been undermining the English influence with such success that 
at the outbreak of the French and Indian War the preference 
of the Indians for the French was but thinly veiled and nothing 
but policy prevented their joining forces with their new 
friends. The English were fully aware of this situation and 
took immediate steps to hold both nations to their allegiance. 

The outbreak of war on the Ohio was accompanied by 
manifestations of hostility by the Carolina Indians. In De- 
cember, 1754, therefore, the Assembly provided for a company 
of rangers for the protection of the frontier. Governor Dobbs 
entrusted this work to Hugh Waddell, a young Irishman, not 
yet twenty-one years of age, and but recently arrived in the 
province, who was, wrote Dobbs, ''in his person and character 
every way qualified for such a command, as he was young, 
active, and resolute." The governor's choice was fully justi- 
fied by the results. The young officer acted with energy in 
raising and organizing his company, and was soon scouting 
on the frontier where his presence tended to keep the Indians 
quiet. It soon became evident, however, that a larger force and 
some permanent forts would be necessary. In the summer 
of 1755, therefore, Governor Dobbs visited the western settle- 
ments to study the situation. He was on this tour when he re- 
ceived information of Braddock's defeat. Hastening to New 
Bern, he convened the Assembly, September 25, and in a force- 
ful address set forth the defenceless condition of the province, 


the growing- influence of the French over the Cherokee Indians, 
and the necessity for prompt action to defeat their schemes. 
Besides sending aid to New York this Assembly ordered that 
a fort be erected on the North Carolina frontier. The execu- 
tion of this work was entrusted to Captain Waddell who, 
selecting a site "beautifully situated in the fork of Fourth 
Creek, a Branch of the Yadkin River about twenty miles west 
of Salisburv " erected there a fort which he named in honor 
of the governor. In 1756 a committee of the Assembly, of 
which Richard Caswell was a member, after an inspection re- 
ported that the fort was "a good and substantial Building" 
and that its garrison of forty-six men appeared to be well and 
in good spirits. 

Besides his military duties, Captain Waddell was charged 
with diplomatic duties. In February, 1756, as the representa- 
tive of North Carolina he was associated with Peyton Ran- 
dolph and William Byrd, representatives of Virginia, in nego- 
tiating an offensive and defensive alliance with the Cherokee 
and Catawba nations. The noted chief, King Haiglar, repre- 
sented the Catawba and Ata-kullakulla the Cherokee. Ata- 
kullakulla was one of the most remarkable Indians of whom we 
have any record. Bartram, the eminent botanist and trav- 
eller, described him as a man of small stature, slender build 
and delicate frame, but of superior abilities. Noted as an 
orator and a statesman, he was "esteemed to be the wisest 
man of the nation and the most steady friend of the English." 
The treaties signed by these representatives stipulated that 
the English should build three forts within the Indian reserva- 
tions to protect them against the French while the Cherokee 
were to furnish 400 warriors to aid the English in the North. 
Accordingly South Carolina built Fort Prince George at 
Keowee on the headwaters of the Savannah and Virginia 
built Fort Loudoun on the Little Tennessee at the mouth of the 
Tellico. It fell to North Carolina to build a fort for the pro- 
tection of the Catawba, but Captain Waddell had scarcely 
begun work on it, on the site of the present town of Old Fort, 
when he was ordered to stop as the Catawba had repented 
of their agreement and desired that no fort be built among 
them. The Cherokee also became alarmed when a garrison of 
200 men was sent to Fort Loudoun, which Major Andrew 
Lewis of Virginia was building, and their great council at 
Echota ordered the work stopped and the garrison withdrawn, 


Hugh Waddell 


saying plainly that they did not want so many armed white 
men among them. Even Ata-kullakulla was now in opposition 
to the English. Despite the treaties, therefore, the situation 
was highly unsatisfactory and there were strong grounds for 
believing that several murders along the Catawba and Broad 
rivers in North Carolina were the joint work of "French 
Indians" and Cherokee. 

Nevertheless, the Cherokee, in accordance with their agree- 
ment, sent a considerable body of warriors to aid the English 
against Fort Duquesne. This policy of calling in the aid of 
Indians in military affairs was to say the least always of 
doubtful wisdom ; in this case it was disastrous. The trouble 
began in the spring of 1756 with an expedition which Major 
Andrew Lewis undertook against the hostile Shawano on the 
Ohio, with 200 white troops and 100 Cherokee. The expedition 
ended in disaster. Some of the Cherokee returning home hav- 
ing lost their own horses, captured some horses which they 
found running loose and appropriated them to their own use. 
Thereupon the Virginia frontiersmen fell upon them, killing 
sixteen of their number. At this outrage the hot blood of the 
young warriors, who were none too friendly to the English at 
the best, flared up in a passion for immediate revenge. The 
chiefs, however, counseled moderation until reparation could 
be demanded of the colonial governments in accordance with 
their treaties. But Virginia, North Carolina, and South Caro- 
lina all refused to take any action in the matter. While the 
women in the wigwams of the slain warriors were wailing 
night and day for their unavenged kindred, and the Creeks, 
who were in alliance with the French, were taunting the Cher- 
okee warriors with cowardice for submitting so tamely to their 
wrongs, came news of the fall of Oswego and other English 
disasters in the North. The Cherokee thirst for revenge was 
now mingled with contempt for English arms, and the young 
men could no longer be restrained. They fell upon the back 
settlements and spread terror far and wide until Governor 
Dobbs sent sufficient reinforcements to Captain Waddell to 
enable him to check the ravages of the enemy. 

Thus the situation remained throughout 1757 and 1758. 
Murders by the Indians followed by prompt reprisals by the 
whites kept both in a state of constant suspicion. While they 
were in this inflammable state of mind, 150 Cherokee warriors 
were sent to join the English in defence of the Virginia 


frontier. They were unruly and dangerous allies, being, as 
Governor Dinwiddie said, "a dissatisfied set of People." The 
capture of Fort Duquesne, November 25, 1758, merely accentu- 
ated the danger, for the French driven from the Ohio imme- 
diately concentrated their intrigues upon the tribes on the 
Tennessee and the Catawba. Depredations on the back settle- 
ments by "French Indians" became more and more frequent, 
and their influence over the Cherokee became daily more ap- 
parent. In May, 1759, both the Carolinas were alarmed by re- 
ports of "many horrid murders" committed by the Lower 
Cherokee along the Yadkin and the Catawba. In July came 
another report of murders in the vicinity of Fort Dobbs by 
bands of Middle Cherokee. The white settlers, in great alarm, 
were abandoning their homes and "enforting themselves," 
some in Fort Dobbs, others among the Moravians at Betha- 
bara. Governor Dobbs hastily withdrew sixty men from Fort 
Granville at Ocracoke and Fort Johnston and sent them 
with some small cannon to the defence of the West 
with orders to cooperate with the militia of Orange, 
Anson and Rowan counties. Hugh Waddell, promoted to the 
rank of colonel, was again sent to Fort Dobbs to take com- 
mand on the frontier. He had scarcely reached his post when 
he received orders to hasten to the aid of Governor Lyttleton 
of South Carolina who was conducting an expedition against 
the Lower Cherokee, but while on the march with his rangers 
and 500 militia, he was halted by an express from Governor 
Lyttleton who had made peace with the enemy. 

This peace, however, was of short duration. No sooner 
had Lyttleton withdrawn his forces from Fort Prince George 
than Oconostota, the young war chief, who had suffered per- 
sonal injuries at the hands of Governor Lyttleton, attacked 
the fort after treacherously murdering its commanding officer. 
War immediately broke out along the whole frontier. On the 
night of February 27, 1760, the dogs at Fort Dobbs by "an 
uncommon noise" warned Colonel Waddell that something 
unusual was going on outside. Investigation showed that the 
fort was surrounded by Cherokee warriors. After a hot fight 
Waddell beat them off with serious losses. Another band 
preparing for a night assault on Bethabara was frightened 
away by the ringing of the church bells. Still others laid waste 
the settlement at Walnut Cove. Across the mountains, Ocon- 
ostota laid seige to Fort Loudoun. In June, 1760, a relief 


expedition under Colonel Archibald Montgomery, consisting 
of 1,600 Scotch Highlanders and Americans, penetrated the 
Cherokee country as far as Echoee, near the present town of 
Franklin, where in a desperate engagement with the Cherokee, 
June 27, 1760, Montgomery was defeated and compelled to 
retreat to Fort Prince George. His retreat sealed the fate of 
Fort Loudoun. The garrison after being reduced to the 
necessity of eating their horses and dogs capitulated on con- 
dition that they be allowed to retire unmolested with their 
arms and sufficient ammunition for the march, leaving to the 
enemy their remaining warlike stores. Unfortunately the 
commanding officer, Captain Demere, failed to carry out these 
terms in good faith and the Indians discovering his breach of 
the treaty fell upon the retreating soldiers, killed Demere 
and twenty-nine others and took the rest prisoners. 

Harrowing reports of atrocities and butcheries, which con- 
tinued to spread throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and 
South Carolina, aroused those colonies to a grim determina- 
tion to put an end to the power of their ruthless foes. A cam- 
paign was accordingly planned in which the three colonies 
were to have the assistance of Colonel James Grant and his 
regiments of Scotch Highlanders. In June, 1761, Grant assem- 
bled at Fort Prince George an army consisting of regulars, 
colonial troops, a few Chickasaw Indians and almost every re- 
maining warrior of the Catawba, numbering 2,600 men. Refus- 
ing Ata-kullakulla's request for a friendly accommodation, 
Grant pushed rapidly forward into the Cherokee country along 
the trail followed the previous year by Montgomery, until he 
came within two miles of Montgomery 's battlefield. There on 
June 10th he encountered the Cherokee upon whom he inflicted 
a decisive defeat. He drove them into the recesses of the moun- 
tains, destroyed their towns, burned their granaries, laid waste 
their fields, and " pushed the frontier seventy miles farther to 
the west." The Cherokee, compelled to sue for peace, sent 
Ata-kullakulla to Charleston where he signed a treaty that 
brought the war to an end. In the meantime, Virginia troops 
had invaded the country of the Upper Cherokee and on Novem- 
ber 19th at the Great Island of the Holston, now Kingsport, 
Tennessee, forced them to sign a treaty independently of the 
middle and lower towns. These blows broke the power of 
the Cherokee, who were never again strong enough to stay 
the westward march of the white race. 


Although the fall of Quebec definitely decided the contest 
as between France and England, peace between the two powers 
was not signed until 1763. By this treaty France and Spain 
ceded to England all their North American possessions east 
of the Mississippi River. The probable effect on the Indians 
of the removal of their French and Spanish allies from this 
region was a problem which gave the British government seri- 
ous concern; and to allay any possible suspicion and alarm 
which it might occasion among the southern tribes, the king 
instructed the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South 
Carolina, and Georgia to hold a conference with them at 
Augusta, Georgia, and explain to them "in the most prudent 
and delicate Manner," the changes about to take place. This 
congress met November 5, 1763. Present were Lieutenant- 
Governor Francis Fauquier of Virginia, Governor Arthur 
Dobbs of North Carolina, Governor Thomas Boone of South 
Carolina, Governor James Wright of Georgia, John Stuart, 
Indian agent for the Southern Department, twenty-five chiefs 
and 700 warriors of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Catawba, 
and Cherokee nations. Six days of oratory and feasting re- 
sulted in a treaty of "Perfect and Perpetual Peace and Friend- 
ship" between the Indians and the English, which provided 
for mutual oblivion of past offenses and injuries, the establish- 
ment of satisfactory trade relations, the punishment by each 
party of offenders of its own race for crimes against members 
of the other race, and the fixing of the boundaries of the Indian 
reservations. On November 10th the four governors and the 
Indian agent, on part of the king, and the twenty -five chiefs, 
on part of their tribes, signed the treaty. The event was cele- 
brated by the bombing of the guns of Fort Augusta and the 
distribution among the Indians of £5,000 worth of presents 
sent them by King George. 

While these events were transpiring on the frontier, 
French privateers were busy along the coast. Immediately 
after the declaration of war, using French and Spanish ports 
in the West Indies as bases, they/ began to appear off the Caro- 
lina coast and to reenact the scenes of the Spanish War. The 
defenseless state of the coast gave them ample opportunity for 
carrying on their work. On one occasion, "for want of a 
Fort to defend the entrance and Channel" of the Cape Fear, 
' ' the Privateers seeing the masts of the Ships at anchor in the 
road within the Harbour, over the sandy Islands, went in and 


cut out the ships and carried them to Sea." Such coast forti- 
fications as had been constructed were "Incapable of Defence 
for want of Artillery, ' ' which both governor and Assembly 
vainly begged the home government to supply, but some pro- 
tection to shipping was afforded by American privateers. A 
few, sailing under letters of marque and reprisal issued by 
Governor Dobbs, were fitted out at Wilmington and Bruns- 
wick. In the spring of 1757 the brigantine Hawk, armed with 
16 carriage guns and 20 swivels, manned with 120 men, 
Thomas Wright captain, and the sloop Franklin, armed with 
6 carriage guns and 10 swivels, manned with 50 men, Robert 
Ellis captain, sailed out of Cape Fear River. Some months 
later came a report that the Hawk sailing into "a French port 
in Hispaniola" had taken there "a pretended Danish Vessel 
with 135 Hogsheads of Sugar [and] 30 Barrels of Coffee." 
Occasionally, too, a British man-of-war cruising off the coast, 
would look in at Cape Fear and other North Carolina ports. 
But they were not as assiduous as they might have been in the 
performance of their duty. On March 22, 1757, Governor 
Dobbs declared that H. M. S. Baltimore, which was supposed 
to be stationed at Cape Fear, had not been at her station throe 
weeks all told since his arrival in North Carolina ; and at 
another time he charged that her captain spent the winter 
months at Charleston because there were "no balls or enter- 
tainments" at Cape Fear. It is not surprising, therefore, that 
merchants complained that -"notwithstanding our great 
superiority in the West Indies," French privateers had cap- 
tured seventy-eight English and American vessels, some of 
which were owned by North Carolina merchants, and carried 
them as prizes to Martinique. But after 1757 the navy like 
the army coming under the spell of Pitt's genius, began to 
display greater zeal and activity in running down the enemy. 
Captain Hutchins, H. M. S. Tartar, reported in June, 1759, 
that during a cruise of three days off Ocracoke he had neither 
seen nor head of a French privateer. Three months later, 
Wolfe's triumph at Quebec put an end to privateering in 
American waters. 

News of the fall of Quebec reached Brunswick October 
24th. "Our Governour upon this occasion," wrote the Bruns- 
wick correspondent of the South Carolina Gazette, "ordered a 
tripple discharge of all the cannon at this town and Fort John- 
ston, all the Shipping displayed their colours and fired 3 


rounds ; and yester evening was spent in an entertainment at 
his excellency's in illuminations, bonfires and all kinds of ac- 
clamations and demonstrations of joy. Today's rejoicings are 
repeated at Wilmington.". 

The war had borne heavily on North Carolina both in men 
and money. It is impossible to say how many soldiers the 
colony raised as no accurate returns exist, indeed, none were 
ever made. At various times, however, the Assembly author- 
ized the recruiting of more than 2,000 men and there is no 
reason to suppose that they were not enrolled; there were 
indeed probably more for many a settler took down his musket 
and went forth to war on the frontier whose name was never 
entered on any muster roll. Nor does this number include the 
militia who were called into active service but of whose service 
no records exist. More than half of the 2,000 provisionals 
authorized by the Assembly were sent into service in other 
colonies. Of North Carolina's financial contributions, more 
accurate information is available. On November 24, 1764, 
Treasurer John Starkey reported to the Assembly that since 
1754 the colony had issued £72,000 of proclamation money, 
current as legal tender at the rate of four for three of sterl- 
ing. Of this amount, £68,000 were still in circulation in 1764. 
The Assembly also issued for war purposes treasury notes 
bearing interest at 6 per cent to the amount of £30,776, of 
which in 1764 £7,000 were still out. The war, therefore, had 
cost North Carolina £102,776, of which £27,776 had been paid, 
leaving a debt of £75,000. Reckoning the population at 130,- 
000, the public debt contracted in support of the war amounted 
to upwards of 15s per capita. For the redemption of this war 
debt the Assembly levied a tax of 4s on the poll and a duty of 
4d a gallon on spirituous liquors. During the war Parliament 
appropriated £200,000 to reimburse all the colonies for their 
expenditures, and an additional £50,000 for Virginia, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina. A quarrel between the gov- 
ernor and the Assembly over the control of this fund resulted 
in North Carolina's receiving only £7,789 from both funds 
which certainly was much less than her just share. 

Over against the colony's losses and expenditures, how- 
ever, may be placed the benefits resulting from the expulsion 
of the French from her western territory and the removal of 
the Cherokee from the path of her westward expansion. To 
these material results must be added the even greater moral 


benefits, viz., the breaking down of many of the barriers of 
local prejudices due to her former isolation and the germina- 
tion of a sense of her common interest and common destiny 
with the rest of British America which, like the other colonies, 
she brought out of her experiences in this first continental 
event in American history. 


In 1764 Governor Dobbs, who had grown peevish with age, 
was given permission to surrender the cares of his office to 
a lieutenant-governor and return to England. While he was 
busily packing for his trip "his physician had no other means 
to prevent his fatiguing himself than by telling him that he 
had better prepare himself for a much longer voyage." He 
set sail on this "longer voyage" March 28, 1765. 

Dobbs was succeeded by William Tryon who took the oath 
of office at Wilmington April 3, 1765. It was Tryon 's mis- 
fortune to administer the government of North Carolina in 
times of domestic violence and civil strife and so to have his 
name associated with events which cannot even now be dis- 
cussed with that calmness and impartiality which alone gives 
value to the judgments of history. However, the load of 
obloquy which tradition so long heaped upon his name has 
been largely lifted by the publication within recent years of 
contemporaneous records which reveal the man and his career 
in a new and better light. The ablest of the colonial gov- 
ernors of North Carolina, he was distinguished for the energy 
of his character, the versatility of his talents, and the variety 
of his interests. His public papers, which are far superior 
to those of any of his predecessors, reveal him as a man of great 
executive ability, keen insight, and liberal views. He had the 
ability to see and understand the view-point of the colonists 
and he always strove to represent it fairly, even when lit' 
heartily disapproved of it. His critics love to dwell on his ex- 
travagance and love of display; but perhaps this fault — to 
which, indeed, he must have pleaded guilty — may be traced 
less to personal vanity than to his views of public policy. He 
entertained exaggerated ideas, common to his time, of the 
proper method of upholding the dignity of exalted official 
position, and had high notions of authority, which he enforced 
with a strong hand, but his public conduct was always 



inspired by a sense of official duty and never, as so 
many of his critics have charged, by vindictiveness. His 
tact was unfailing, and his genius for winning the per- 
sonal friendship of those who most vigorously opposed 
his public policies was remarkable. Long after he had left 
the colony, the General Assembly bore testimony to their 
conviction of his "good intentions to its welfare," and gave 
a striking expression of "the great affection this Colony bears 
him, and the entire confidence they repose in him." 

( )ne of the important results of the French and Indian 
War was the opening of the region beyond the Alleghanies 
to settlement by the English. The English colonies had long 
been advertent to the importance of this region to their future 
expansion. In 1748 the Board of Trade reported "that 
the settlement of the country lying to the westward of 
the great mountains would be for His Majesty's interest 
and the advantages and security of Virginia and the 
neighboring colonies;" and in 1756 Sir Thomas Pownall 
wrote that "the English settlements as they are at pres- 
ent circumstanced, are absolutely at a standstill; they 
are settled up to the mountains and in the mountains 
there is nowhere together land sufficient for a settlement large 
enough to subsist by itself and to defend itself and preserve 
a communication with the present settlements." Both Eng- 
land and France claimed this vast region, but in 1763 by the 
terms of the Treaty of Paris, which brought the French 
and Indian War to a close, France was compelled to withdraw 
her claims leaving only the Indians to contest the inevitable 
advance of the English settlers. 

Virginia, North Carolina, and other colonies had long 
asserted jurisdiction over this western region, but the British 
government was not disposed to recognize their claims. In 
1763, immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, 
the king issued a proclamation forbidding settlements beyond 
the mountains and instructing the colonial governments to 
issue no grants in that region. How long this proclamation 
would have delayed the colonization of the West had the 
people obeyed it cannot be said ; as it was the hardy pioneers 
on the frontier calmly disregarded it, took the problem of 
settlement into their own hands, and within half a decade after 
the close of the French and Indian War began to cross the 
mountains and build their cabins along the Watauga, the Hol- 
ston, and the Cumberland rivers without permission of either 
king or royal governors. 


All of that part of the region beyond the Alleghanies which 
is now embraced within the State of Tennessee was included 
in the Carolina grant of 1665 and was therefore nominally 
within the jurisdiction of North Carolina. From North Caro- 
lina it received its first settlers. Although at the time of 
the Treaty of Paris no attempt had been made to plant white 
settlements within its limits, the region had long been familiar 
to English traders and hunters. In 1748, Thomas Walker of 
Virginia led a band of hunters far into the interior of what 
is now Middle Tennessee, giving names to the Cumberland 
Mountains and the Cumberland Eiver. In 1756, as we have 
already seen, the English built Fort Loudoun on the Ten- 
nessee River. Most famous of all the hardy pioneers who 
explored this region was Daniel Boone who as early as 
1760 was hunting along the Watauga River. The following 
year at the head of a party of hunters Boone penetrated the 
wilderness to the headwaters of the Holston as far as the 
site of the present Abingdon, Virginia. From this time for- 
ward he was constantly hunting in the Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky country. Boone and his fellow hunters brought back 
to the settlements in Virginia and North Carolina glowing 
reports of the richness and beauty of the land beyond the 
mountains and thus paved the way for the pioneers of more 
settled habits whose purpose was to carve out of the wilder- 
ness homes for themselves and their children. 

A study of this westward movement reveals no feature 
that has not already appeared in the movements which re- 
sulted in the settlement of the older communities. Like the 
original settlement on the Albemarle, it was not the result 
of organized effort but of spontaneous, individual enterprise, 
a perfectly natural overflow of population from the parent 
colony. First a few hardy, adventurous individuals broke 
their way into the wilderness ; soon they were followed by an 
occasional family, and, finally, as the movement gathered mo- 
mentum, by groups of families. The same motives, too, which 
inspired the settlers in the older communities, reappear as the 
inspiration of those in the new. We find in both the same rest- 
less spirit of adventure, the same desire for new and cheap 
land, and the same discontent with political, economic and 
social conditions in the parent country. Such discontent was 
wide-spread throughout the back country of Virginia, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina, In North Carolina it cul- 
minated in the organization of the Regulators and their disas- 
trous attempts to secure reforms in the colonial administra- 

Vol. 1—19 

Daniel Boone 


tion. In contrast with the ills at home were the freedom, the 
unlimited opportunities, and the charms of adventure in a 
new land; and the choice of the new was made by hundreds 
who after 1768 joined in that migration across the Alleghanies 
which resulted in the founding of the states of Kentucky and 

The earliest settlements beyond the Alleghanies were made 
in that broad and beautiful valley between the Great Smoky 
and Unaka ranges on the east and the Cumberland Mountains 
on the west, through which the Holston, the Watauga, the 
Nolichucky, the Clinch and the French Broad rivers flow to 
form the Tennessee. In 1768 a few Virginians settled at Wolf 
Hills on the Holston River, the present Abingdon, whence 
settlements gradually expanded southward until they reached 
the Watauga where some North Carolinians built homes in 
the winter of 1768-69. Most of the settlers on the Watauga 
came from the back comities of Virginia and North Carolina, 
and were of Scotch-Irish stock. Among them of course, as 
in all frontier communities, were to be found some of the out- 
casts of civilization, but they were not the dominant ele- 
ment in the settlement, nor did they determine its character. 
The great majority of the settlers "were men of sterling 
worth ; fit to be the pioneer fathers of a mighty and beautiful 
state. They possessed the courage that enabled them to defy 
outside foes, together with the rough, practical commonsense 
that allowed them to establish a simple but effective form of 
government, so as to preserve order among themselves." 1 
Since their political and social ideals were genuinely demo- 
cratic, it is not strange that out of their experience should 
have come the first government springing from the people 
ever organized by native-born Americans. 

The most important figure in the history of the Watauga 
settlement is that of James Robertson. Born in Virginia, Rob- 
ertson was carried to North Carolina in his eighth year and 
grew to manhood in what is now Wake County. Like a later 
and more famous native of Wake County who also moved to 
Tennessee, Andrew Johnson, Robertson was taught to read 
and write by his wife. Although never attaining more than a 
"rudimentary education," Robertson was, says Roosevelt, "a 
man of remarkable natural powers; his somewhat 

sombre face bad in it a look of self-contained strength that 
made it impressive ; and his taciturn, quiet, masterful way of 

1 Roosevelt: Winning of the West, Vol. I, p. 219. 


dealing with men and affairs, together with his singular mix- 
ture of cool caution and most adventurous daring, gave him 
an immediate hold even upon such lawless spirits as those of 
the border. He was a mighty hunter; but, unlike Boone, hunt- 
ing and exploration were to him secondary affairs, and he 
came to examine the lands with the eye of a pioneer settler. ' ' 2 
Such was the man who, in 1770, discontented with the condi- 
tions then prevailing in the back counties of North Carolina, 
set out from his Wake County home to cross the Alleghanies 
and become the "Father of Tennessee." 

Robertson was so delighted with the beauty and fertility 
of the valley of the Watauga, that he determined to carry his 
family there. Accordingly he remained just long enough to 
raise a crop of corn, and then returned to North Carolina for 
them. Conditions in the back counties had gradually grown 
worse ; discontent was more wide-spread than ever. He had 
no difficulty therefore, in interesting his friends and neighbors 
in the new country beyond the mountains and when he set out 
on his return to Watauga he was accompanied by about a 
dozen families besides his own. This accession of sturdy set- 
tlers assured the permanence of the settlement, yet it was only 
the vanguard of the army that soon began to pour into that 
region, as a result of the overthrow of the Regulators at Ala- 
mance, May 16, 1771. Morgan Edwards, a Baptist preacher 
who visited the back counties of North Carolina in 1772, 
wrote that many of the Regulators " despaired of seeing bet- 
ter times and therefore quitted the province. It is said that 
1,500 families departed since the battle of Alamance and to my 
knowledge a great many more are only waiting to dispose of 
their plantations in order to follow them." Although this 
estimate is certainly an exaggeration, yet it is indicative of 
the extent of the emigration from North Carolina to Watauga 
and the other western settlements. When Watauga asked to 
be annexed to North Carolina in 1776, the petition was signed 
by 111 settlers. 

These settlers had come to Watauga believing it to be in 
Virginia, but in 1771 Anthony Bledsoe, a surveyor, discovered 
that it was really in North Carolina. His discovery was some- 
what disconcerting since most of the people had settled there 
because of their dissatisfaction with political conditions in 
North Carolina. They were therefore reluctant to appeal to 
North Carolina for protection, or to acknowledge the juris- 

Wiiming of the West, Vol. I. 


diction of the North Carolina government. Accordingly un- 
der the leadership of Robertson they determined to set up a 
government of their own. This determination resulted in the 
Watauga Association, the first government erected beyond 
the Alleghanies and the first written constitution by native 
Americans. At a general meeting, the inhabitants qualified to 
take part in so important an undertaking chose thirteen repre- 
sentatives, apparently one for each block-house or palisaded 
village, to represent them in the first frontier legislature. 
These representatives met at Robertson's station and selected 
five commissioners, among whom were Robertson and John 
Sevier, destined to fame surpassing even the fame of Robert- 
son, to administer the government. The commissioners exer- 
cised both judicial and executive functions. They recorded 
wills, issued marri-age licenses, made treaties with the In- 
dians, decided cases at law, punished criminals, and super- 
vised the morals of the community. In their judicial capacity 
they gave their constituents no cause to complain of the law's 
delay. An instance frequently cited as typical of their exer- 
cise of their judicial functions is that of a horse thief who 
was arrested on Monday, tried on Wednesday, and hanged on 
Friday. So sure and swift was their execution of the criminal 
law that some unruly citizens chose to flee to the Indians 
rather than submit to Watauga justice. 

One of the first problems which the Watauga Association 
as an organized government had to solve was its relations 
with the Indians. The same year in which the association 
was formed, 1772, Virginia made a treaty with the Cherokee 
which fixed the southern boundary of that colonv, 36° 30' 
north latitude, as the dividing line between the whites and 
the Indians west of the Alleghanies. Thereupon Alexander 
Cameron, the British agent resident among the Cherokee, 
demanded that the Watauga settlers withdraw from their 
lands which, of course, fell within the Indian reservation. 
The settlers refused and in their refusal were supported by 
the Cherokee themselves who, reluctant to lose the trade of 
the whites, requested that they be allowed to remain provided 
they encroached no farther on the domains of the Indians. 
Accordingly a treaty was made by which the Indians leased 
their lands to the settlers for a period of eight years. This 
treaty established peaceful relations between the two races 
which continued until the outbreak of the Revolution. 

The first result of the Revolution was to bring Watauga 
into closer relations with the mother colonv. At the be- 


ginning of the dispute between the king and the colonies, the 
Watauga settlers, as was to be expected of men of their race, 
embraced the cause of the colonies, "resolved to adhere 
strictly to the rules and orders of the Continental Congress," 
and "acknowledged themselves indebted to the United 
Colonies their full proportion of the Continental expense." 
In 1775 they united with the settlers on the Nolichucky River 
to form Washington District, — the first political division to be 
honored with the name of Washington, — and the next year 
petitioned the North Carolina Provincial Council to be an- 
nexed to North Carolina and admitted to representation in the 
Provincial Congress. The petition was granted and on De- 
cember 3, 1776, John Sevier, the first representative from 
beyond the Alleghanies, took his seat in the Provincial Con- 
gress at Halifax just in time to participate in the formation 
of the first constitution of the independent State of North 
Carolina. The next year Washington District became Wash- 
ington County, a land office was opened, and a system of land 
grants similar to that of North Carolina was instituted. In 
spite of war the settlement continued to grow and in 1779 
Sullivan County was erected out of Washington. Neverthe- 
less it seems not to have been contemplated that Washington 
County should remain permanently a part of North Carolina, 
for the Declaration of Rights, adopted in 1776, expressly 
provides that the clause which defines the boundaries of the 
State as extending from sea to sea, "shall not be construed 
so as to prevent the Establishment of one or more Govern- 
ments Westward of this State, by the consent of the Legis- 
lature. ' ' 

By this time other settlements had been made even farther 
west than the Watauga, in which Richard Henderson, an 
eminent North Carolina jurist, was the moving spirit. Like 
many of his contemporaries, Henderson had become affected 
with the fever for western lands and had begun to dream of 
vast proprietaries beyond the mountains in which he was to 
play the part of a William Penn or of a Lord Baltimore. He 
had made the acquaintance of Boone whose good judgment, 
intelligence and character had so impressed him that in 1763 
he sent Boone to explore the region between the Cumberland 
and Kentucky rivers. During the next decade Boone prose- 
cuted his explorations with great vigor, perseverance and 
daring, but the story of his romantic career is too well known 
to need repetition here. In 1774, as a result of his work, Hen- 
derson organized at Hillsboro a land company, first called the 


Louisa Company, later the Transylvania Company, to pro- 
mote the settlement of this region. Prominent among the 
incorporators besides Henderson himself were John Williams 
of Granville County, one of the first superior court judges 
of North Carolina under the Constitution of 1776, James 
Hogg, Nathaniel Hart and Thomas Hart of Orange County. 
In March, 1775, at Sycamore Shoals on Watauga River, Hen- 
derson and his associates negotiated a treaty with the Overhill 
Cherokee Indians by which the Indians sold to the Transyl- 
vania Company all the vast region between the Cumberland 
and Kentucky rivers, which Henderson named Transylvania. 

Even before the treaty was completed, Daniel Boone had 
been sent forward to open a trail from the settlements on the 
Holston to the Kentucky River. This trail was the first regu- 
lar path into the western wilderness and is famous in the 
history of the frontier as the Wilderness Trail. Leading 
through the Cumberland Gap, it crossed the Cumberland, 
Laurel and Rockcastle rivers, and terminated on the Kentucky 
River. There on April 1, 1780, Boone began to lay the founda- 
tions of Boonesborough where he was joined twenty days later 
by Henderson with a party of forty mounted riflemen. At 
Boonesborough Henderson opened a land office and proceeded 
to issue grants and to organize a government for the colony of 

These activities, however, were somewhat premature. The 
Transylvania purchase was in direct controvention of the 
king's proclamation of 1763, and neither the British nor the 
colonial authorities would recognize its validity. Since part 
of the new colony lay within Virginia and part within North 
Carolina, the governors of both colonies issued proclamations 
declaring Henderson's treaty with the Indians null and void. 
Governor Martin of North Carolina denounced it as a " daring 
unjust and unwarrantable Proceeding," forbade the com- 
pany "to prosecute so unlawful an Undertaking," and warned 
all persons that purchases of lands from the Transylvania 
Company were "illegal, null and void." Henderson and his 
associates the governor characterized as an "infamous com- 
pany of Land Pyrates." But in 1775 proclamations of royal 
governors had lost something of their former effectiveness, 
and Henderson and his company proceeded with their en- 
terprise in disregard of the two governors' prohibition. Fail- 
ing to secure recognition from the colonial governments, 
in September, 1775, the company sent James Hogg to Phila- 
delphia to appeal to the Continental Congress for admission 


into the ranks of the United Colonies as the fourteenth colony. 
But both Virginia and North Carolina, whether under royal 
rule or as independent states, were opposed to such a sur- 
render of their western lands, and they succeeded in secur- 
ing the rejection of the petition. After this rebuff, Hender- 
son's grandiose scheme collapsed. However in compensation 
for the "expence, risque and trouble" to which he and his 
associates had been put, in 1778 Virginia granted them 200,000 
acres in that part of Transylvania which lay within her limits, 
and in 1783 North Carolina made a similar grant within her 
western territory. That part of Transylvania, which fell 
within the limits of Virginia afterwards became the State of 
Kentucky ; the rest together with Watauga became Tennessee. 

In 1779, the indefatigable Henderson opened a land office 
at French Lick on Cumberland Eiver and invited settlers to 
purchase grants. Among those who came was James Robert- 
son, who quickly became the leader of the new colony as he 
had been at Watauga. In 1780 on a high bluff at French Lick, 
Robertson built a block-house which he named Nashborough 
in honor of Abner Nash who had just .been elected governor 
of North Carolina. Later it became Nashville. The early 
history of the Cumberland settlement resembles that of Wa- 
tauga. In the face of crop failures, Indian attacks and other 
hardships which threatened it with destruction, it was held 
together by the genius of Robertson, and on May 1, 1780, 
representatives from the several communities met and 
adopted a temporary plan of government which they called 
the Cumberland Association modeled after the Watauga As- 
sociation. It was to be effective only until the settlement 
could be organized as a county of North Carolina, which was 
done in 1783 when the Cumberland Association became David- 
son County with James Robertson as its first representative 
in the General Assembly. 

The tracing of the development of these western settle- 
ments in a continuous story has carried us chronologically 
somewhat beyond the period of Tryon's administration in 
which thev originated and to which we must now return. 
Tryon met his first Assembly at New Bern, May 3, 1765. 
He had already evolved in his own mind a really constructive 
program for the colony, part of which he laid before the 
Assembly. It embraced the fixing upon a permanent seat of 
government, the establishment of a postal system, the promo- 
tion of religion, the encouragement of education, and other 
progressive policies. The Assembly met his suggestions with 


favor, but before it could carry them into execution, North 
Carolina became involved in the Stamp Act quarrel, which was 
scarcely settled before the War of the Regulation broke out. 
Tryon 's administration, therefore, began in storm and strife 
and closed in war and bloodshed. Yet to its credit, besides 
other measures which will be discussed elsewhere, must be 
placed the quieting of a gathering storm among the Cherokee 
Indians, the fixing upon a seat of government and the erection 
there of a suitable public building, and the crushing of a dan- 
gerous insurrection in the very heart of the province. 

In spite of domestic violence and emigration the decade 
from 1765 to 1775 was a period of growth and improvement. 
In 1766 Tryon expressed the opinion that North Carolina 
Avas "settling faster than any [other colony] on the conti- 
nent; last autumn and winter," he added, "upwards of one 
thousand wagons passed thro' Salisbury with families from 
the northward, to settle in this province chiefly." All the 
back country, from Salisbury to the foot of the mountains, and 
beyond, was filling up "with a race of people, sightly, active, 
and laborious." 

This influx of population brought on a troublesome situa- 
tion with the Cherokee Indians. As the settlers pushed west- 
ward they encroached more and more on the Cherokee lands, 
depriving the Lower Cherokee of their most valuable hunt- 
ing grounds. Daily contact between the two races produced 
conflicts and frequent bloodshed. Nor was the trouble con- 
fined to the Cherokee. A similar situation existed all along 
the borders of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and 
Georgia. The complaints of the Cherokee, wrote John Stuart, 
"have been echoed through all the Nations." The Cherokee, 
the Creeks, and the other Indians of the Southern Depart- 
ment were alarmed and discontented, and ready upon the 
slightest provocation to take up the hatchet. 

Peace could be preserved only by establishing plain and 
unmistakable boundaries and forbidding each race to encroach 
upon the territories of the other. John Stuart exerted him- 
self to secure adjustments in all the colonies in his depart- 
ment. In February, 1766, he wrote to Governor Tryon that 
"the fixing of a boundary Line is a measure necessary and 
essential to the preservation of peace with the Indian Na- 
tions." But Tryon hesitated to move because he had received 
no instructions bearing on this matter and had no money with 
which to defray expenses. Happily both these causes for 
delay were soon removed. The secretary of state for the 


colonies directed him to apply himself ''in the most earnest 
measure" to remedy the complaints of the Indians and to 
prevent hostilities, and in November, 1766, the Assembly 
agreed to meet the expenses of the survey. In April, 1767, 
the Council unanimously advised Tryon to go in person to 
meet the Cherokee chiefs, and since this advice fell in with his 
own wishes, he decided to adopt it. 

The commissioners to represent the colony in running the 
line were John Rutherford, Robert Palmer, and John Fro- 
hock. To escort himself and the commissioners Tryon ordered 
out a detachment of fifty men from the Rowan and Mecklen- 
burg militia which he put under the command of Colonel Hugh 
Waddell. Although he was going into a hostile country, 
among a savage and treacherous race, to settle a dispute 
which was about to bring on war, Tryon has been severely 
criticised for his action in ordering out these troops. And 
yet the only criticism of his conduct which can be justified 
by the facts should be aimed at his fool-hardiness in ventur- 
ing upon so dangerous an expedition with so weak an escort. 
At Salisbury he was joined by Alexander Cameron, deputy 
superintendent of Indian affairs in the Southern Department. 
The march westward from Salisbury was begun May 21, 1767. 
On June 1 Tryon met the Cherokee chiefs at "Tyger River 
camp," where after exchanging "talks" they came to an 
agreement as to the boundary. The survey was started June 
4, which Tryon regarded as an especially auspicious date 
since it was the king's birthday. Rutherford, Palmer, Fro- 
hock, Cameron, and the Cherokee chiefs composed the sur- 
veying party. They began the line at a point on Reedy River 
where the South Carolina-Cherokee line, recently run, ter- 
minated and continued it fifty-three miles northward to a 
mountain which the surveyors named in honor of the governor. 
Tryon himself had already returned to Brunswick. He had 
made a favorable impression upon the Indians who named 
him "The Great Wolf." Upon his return to Brunswick he 
issued a proclamation setting out the line agreed upon, for- 
bidding any purchases of land from the Indians, and prohibit- 
ing the issuance of anv grants within one mile of the boundary 
line. When the Assembly met in December it thanked the 
governor for "superintending in person" the running of this 
line and appropriated money for paying the expenses of the 
survey, which amounted to about £400. 

Upon his return from this expedition Tryon turned his 
attention seriously to the erection of the public building at 


New Bern for which the Assembly of November, 1766, follow- 
ing his recommendation, had made an appropriation. Other 
governors had repeatedly urged the necessity for such action. 
"The Publick Records," wrote Governor Johnston, nearly 
twenty years before, "lye in a miserable condition, one part 
of them at Edenton near the Virginia Line in a place without 
Lock or Key; a great part of them in the Secretary's House 
at Cape Fear about Two Hundred Miles Distance from the 
other; Some few of 'em at the Clerk of the Council's House at 
Newbern, so that in whatever part of the Colony a man hap- 
pens to be, if he wants to consult any paper or record he must 
send some Hundred of Miles before he can come at it." In 
1744 he told the Assembly that the unsatisfactory condition of 
public affairs and the "shamefull condition" of the laws, 
which were "left at the mercy of every ignorant transcriber 
and tossed about on loose scraps of paper," were largely due 
to "the want of a fixt place for the dispatch of publick busi- 
ness. It is impossible," he continued, "to finish any matter 
as it ought to be while we go on in this itinerant way. 
We have now tried every Town in the Colonv and it is high 
time to settle somewhere." The soundness of this advice was 
indisputable, yet the Assembly did nothing. The trouble was 
the question could never be considered on its own merits. The 
act of 1746, fixing the capital at New Bern, was involved in 
the representation controversy and vetoed by the king upon 
the protest of the northern counties. In 1758, upon the recom- 
mendation of Governor Dobbs, the Assembly passed an act 
fixing the capital at Tower Hill, on the Neuse River about 
fifty miles above New Bern ; but the Board of Trade claimed 
for the Crown the right to select the site for a capital and 
rebuked Dobbs for consenting to the act. Besides, after its 
passage it was found that Dobbs himself owned the land on 
which the town was to be located, and charges of speculation 
and corruption were so freely circulated that the Assembly 
itself asked the king to disallow the act. 

Here the situation stood when the outburst of loyalty and 
good-feeling which followed the repeal of the Stamp Act gave 
Tryon a favorable opportunity for asking the Assembly for 
funds to erect a suitable public building at New Bern. The 
Assembly, in November, 1766, complied with the request, ap- 
propriating £5,000 for the purpose. A year later an addi- 
tional appropriation of £10,000 was made. The work begun 
in 1767 was finally completed in 1770. The building, though 
called the "Governor's Palace," contained in fact a residence 







for the governor, a hall for the Assembly, a council chamber, 
and offices for the provincial officials. Built of brick and 
trimmed with marble, it was admittedly the handsomest pub- 
lic building in America. Its erection brought much undeserved 
odium upon Tryon. True it fastened a debt upon the province 
which it could ill afford at that lime; nevertheless it is perti- 
nent to remark that this debt was incurred hot by the gov- 
ernor but by representatives of the people. The governor 
merely expended the money which the Assembly voted. Nor 
can there be any doubt that the establishment of a permanent 
capital, the concentration of the public records in a central 
depository, and the erection of suitable executive offices and 
legislative halls greatly facilitated and improved the transac- 
tion of the public business. 

While all this is undoubtedly true, yet it was an unfavor- 
able time for the Assembly to enter upon such an expensive 
enterprise. The eastern men, who controlled the Assembly 
and upon whom chiefly the burdens of the Stamp Act would 
have fallen, in their joy at being relieved of those burdens, 
forgot that other sections of the province had grievances of 
their own. The back counties were already deeply agitated 
over abuses in the administration of their local affairs and the 
inequalities in the system of taxation, and a wise administra- 
tion would not have given them an additional cause for dis- 
satisfaction. Their complaints were aimed not so much at 
the fact of erecting a provincial building as at the method 
adopted for raising the money. This method was the imposi- 
tion of a poll tax for three years which fell on rich and poor 
alike and was particularly burdensome in the back settlements 
where money was so scarce. They complained that "as the 
people in the lower counties are few in proportion to those 
in the back settlements, it [a poll tax] more immediately 
affects the many, and operates to their prejudice ; for * * 
a man that is worth £10,000 pays no more than a poor back set- 
tler that has nothing but the labour of his hands to depend 
upon for his daily support." The Regulators of Orange 
County, at a meeting held on August 2, 1768, told the sheriff, 
"We are determined not to pay the Tax for the next three 
years, for the Edifice or Governor's House. We want no such 
House, nor will we pay for it," Thus the erection of the 
"Governor's Palace"' was closely connected with those two 
events, the Regulation and the Stamp Act, which hold so large 
a place in the history of North Carolina during the decade 
from 1765 to 1775 . 


The War of the Regulation is one of the most sharply 
controverted events in the history of North Carolina. 
The controversy, however, does not so much concern the 
facts, as in the case of the "Mecklenburg Declaration," as it 
does the conclusions to be drawn from them. One group of his- 
torians sees in the Regulators a devoted band of patriots who 
at Alamance fired the opening gun of the American Revolu- 
tion ; another sees only a mob, hating property and culture, de- 
lighting in violence and impatient of all legal restraints, whose 
success would have resulted not in the establishment of con- 
stitutional liberty but in the reign of anarchy. Neither view is 
correct; the former is based upon a misunderstanding of the 
American Revolution, the latter upon a misunderstanding of 
the Regulation. 

The Regnlation had its origin in the social and economic 
differences between the tidewater section and the "back conn- 
try" of North Carolina. These differences were largely the 
results of racial and geological divergencies. In the East, 
as has already been pointed out, the people were almost, 
entirely of English ancestry; in the West, Scotch-Irish and 
Germans predominated. In the East an aristocratic form of 
society prevailed, based upon large plantations and slave 
labor ; in the West, plantations were small, slaves were few in 
number, and the forms and ideals of society were democratic. 
Between the two sections stretched a sparsely settled region 
of pine forest which formed a natural barrier to intercourse. 
The East looked to Virginia and the mother country for its 
social, intellectual, and political standards ; for the West, Phil- 
adelphia was the principal center for the interchange of ideas, 
as well as of produce. With slight intercourse between them, 
the two sections felt but little sympathetic interest in each 
other. While the East had taken on many of the forms and 
luxuries of older societies, the West was still in the pi one -»v 
stage. Some old Regulators long afterwards declared that 



at the time of the Regulation there was not among all their 
acquaintances one who could boast a cabin with a plank floor, 
or who possessed a feather bed, a riding carriage, or a side 

There was, however, one set of people in the "back coun- 
try" who aped the manners of the eastern aristocracy, and 
by their haughty bearings, selfish and mercenary spirit, and 
disregard of the sentiments if not the rights of the people, 
drew upon themselves an almost universal detestation and 
hatred. They were the public officials, who were a sufficiently 
numerous and compact group to form a distinct class. The 
people had but little or no voice in the choice of these officials 
and therefore no control over them. The colonial government 
was nighty centralized. Provincial affairs were administered 
by officials chosen by the Crown, local affairs by officials 
chosen by the governor. Upon the recommendation of the 
assemblymen from each county, the governor in Council ap- 
pointed the county justices, who administered the local gov- 
ernment. The county justices nominated to the governor 
three freeholders from whom he selected the sheriff. The gov- 
ernor also appointed the registers and the officers of the mili- 
tia. There was a clerk of the pleas who farmed out the clerk- 
ships of the counties. Moreover these local officials controlled 
the Assembly. No law forbade multiple office-holding, and 
the assemblymen were also generally clerks, justices, and 
militia colonels, who formed what in modern political parlance 
we call "courthouse rings.' Where these "rings" were com- 
posed of high-minded, patriotic men, as in most of the east- 
ern counties, government was honestly administered; but in 
the "back country" such officials were rare, local government 
was usually inefficient, often corrupt, and generally oppres- 

It was this system of centralized office-holding that pre- 
vented the Regulators' receiving prompt and effective redress 
of their grievances. Their grievances were excessive taxes, 
dishonest officials, and extortionate fees. Taxes were exces- 
sive because they were levied only on the poll so that the rich 
and the poor paid equal amounts. The scarcity of money in 
the "back country" added to the hardships of the system, for 
it frequently gave brutal and corrupt sheriffs and their depu- 
ties an excuse to proceed by distraint, collect an extra fee for 
so doing, and sell the unhappy taxpayer's property at less 
than its real value to some friend of the sheriff. The Regula- 
tors charged that the officers and their friends made a regular 


business of such proceedings. That the officers with rare 
exceptions were either dishonest or inefficient is indisputable. 
A large percentage of the taxes collected by them, estimated 
bv Tryon in 1767 at fifty per cent, never found its way into the 
hands of the public treasurer. In 1770 the sheriffs were in 
arrears £49,000, some of which extended as far back as 1754. 
It was reported that at least half of this sum could not be 
collected from those officials. The arrears of the officers 
were greatest in Anson, Orange, Johnston, Eowan, Cum- 
berland, and Dobbs counties. While much of it was due 
to inefficient methods of accounting, there is no question that 
the greater part of it can be charged to corruption in office. 
Sheriffs, clerks, registers, and lawyers were all paid in fees 
fixed by acts of the Assembly. But these fees were frequently 
unknown to the people, who were compelled to accept the 
officers ' word for the proper amount. Officers too would gen- 
erally manage to resolye a seiwice for which a fee was attached 
into two or more seryices and collect a fee for each. That 
such practices were not always technically illegal or corrupt, 
and that popular rumor frequently exaggerated or misrepre- 
sented the facts in particular cases, is unquestionably true, 
but equally true it is that the people had ample ground for 
complaint which a government properly responsive to popular 
sentiment would have speedily remoyed. 

But the government was not responsive to popular senti- 
ment, and it onlv needed somebody to give voice and direc- 
tion to the general discontent to set the whole countryside 
aflame. The three names most conspicuously connected with 
the agitation which led to the organization of the Regulation 
are Herman Husband, Rednap Howell, and James Hunter. 
Husband was a native of Maryland, Howell of New Jersey, 
and Hunter of Virginia. All three had been caught up in the 
stream of emigration which flowed from the middle colonies 
into North Carolina during the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and had settled in Orange County. Husband was 
a Quaker and seems to have been endowed with those 
qualities of business shrewdness, industry, and thrift charac- 
teristic of adherents of that sect. Better educated than the 
people generally among whom he lived, he was fond of read- 
ing political tracts which he distributed rather extensively 
among his neighbors. He had some gift of expression which 
enabled him to set forth in simple and homely fashion the 
grievances' of the people in pamphlets to which he gave a wide 
circulation. Thus he became pre-eminently the spokesman of 


the people. Twice they elected him to represent them in the 
General Assembly. Essentially an agitator, he shrank from 
violence and when the quarrel which he had done so much to 
bring on reached the point of appeal to arms, either from 
cowardice as his enemies charged, or from religious scruples 
as his apologists would have us believe, he abandoned his fol- 
lowers and rode hurriedly away from the scene of action. Hus- 
band had a counterpart in Howell. The former was serious, 
blunt, bitter ; the latter, witty, pointed, and genial. Howell, 
who was an itinerant school teacher, is known as the bard of 
the Regulation. Endowed with a talent for versification, he 
celebrated the personal characteristics of the officers, their 
public conduct, and their rapid rise at the expense of the peo- 
ple from poverty to affluence, in "ambling epics and jingling 
ballads" that have not yet lost their lively interest. His keen 
sarcasm, his well-aimed wit, and his broad humor set the whole 
back country laughing and singing at the expense of the 
officers. Of the triumvirate mentioned, James Hunter seems 
to have been the man of action. He is known as the "gen- 
eral" of the Regulation. Early associating himself with the 
movement, upon finding petitions to the governor and appeals 
to the courts alike ineffective, he advocated resort to forcible 
measures. Asked to take command at Alamance, he gave a 
reply which in itself is expressive of the Regulators' own 
conception of their movement. "We are all free men," he 
said, "and every man must command himself." After Ala- 
mance, Husband, Howell, and Hunter were all outlawed and 
forced to flee from the province. Hunter alone returned. 
Later, in the contest with the mother country, he joined the 
Revolutionary party, and rendered good service in the cause 
of independence. 

Except Governor Tryon, the most prominent leader of the 
opposing forces was Edmund Fanning. A native of New 
York, after graduating from Y r ale College in 1757, he studied 
law and, in 1761, came to Carolina and located at Hillsboro. 
Although he may not have been as poverty-stricken upon his 
arrival as Rednap Howell represents, there can be no doubt 
that he soon "laced his coat with gold." He was the per- 
sonification of the office-holding class which has already been 
described, uniting in his own person the offices of assembly- 
man, register of deeds, judge of the Superior Court, and colo- 
nel of the militia. One need not think him deserving of all 
the infamy that has been heaped upon him to understand the 
sentiments of the people toward him. That he was a man of 

Vol. 1—2 


culture and more than average ability there can be no dispute. 
To his equals he was kind, hospitable, considerate; to his 
inferiors, patronizing, supercilious, overbearing. He despised 
the "common people, ' ;i and they cordially reciprocated the 
sentiment. They believed that he had acquired his wealth, 
which he displayed with great ostentation, "by his civil rob- 
beries. ' ' Although on the evidence he may be fairly acquitted 
of the charge of deliberate and positive dishonesty, he was 
unquestionably guilty of abusing his official power and influ- 
ence for the purpose of perpetuating an oppressive system 
and obstructing all efforts at reform. He was, indeed, the 
progenitor of the race of carpetbaggers. 

The Regulation was not an isolated event. It was in fact 
but the culmination of a spirit of restlessness and discontent 
at existing conditions that had long been abroad in the prov- 
ince. Evidence of it was seen in the outbreak of violence occa- 
sioned by the collection of taxes in Anson County and in the 
riots in the Granville District. In 1765 such riots also broke 
out among the squatters on the George Selwyn lands in Meck- 
lenburg County when attempts by Selwyn 's agents to survey 
these lands so that deeds might be issued and quit rents col- 
lected led to armed resistance in which John Frohock, Abra- 
ham Alexander, and others were severelv beaten bv angrv 
settlers and Henry Eustace McCulloh, Selwyn 's agent, was 
threatened with death. Similar conditions prevailed in Gran- 
ville Countv. George Sims of Nutbush, Granville Countv, on 
June 6, 1765, issued his famous "Nutbush Address," in which 
he set forth in graphic language, "the most notorious and 
intolerable abuses'' which had crept into the public service 
in that county. It was not, he said, the "form of Government, 
nor yet the body of our laws, that we are quarreling with, but 
with the malpractices of the Officers of our County Courts, 
and the abuses which we suffer by those empowered to man- 
age our public affairs.' 1 Extortionate fees and oppressive 
methods of collecting fees and taxes formed the burden of his 
complaint. He called upon the people to meet for a discussion 
of reform, but the only result of his appeal was a petition to 
the Assembly for redress of grievances which was stillborn. 

The failure of the movement in Granville was probably 
due to lack of organization. Organized opposition to the in- 
equalities in the law and malpractices in its administration 
began in Orange County. At the August term, 1766, of the 
County Court at Hillsboro, a group of Sandy Creek men, 
inspired by the success of the Sons of Liberty in resisting the 


Stamp Act, issued an address calling upon the people to send 
delegates to a meeting at Maddock's Mill to inquire "whether 
the free men of this county labor under any abuses of power 
or not." The address was read in open court and the officers 
present, acknowledging that it was reasonable, promised to 
attend the meeting. On October 10, twelve delegates appeared, 
but no officers. Apparently under the influence of Edmund 
Fanning, who denounced the meeting as an insurrection, they 
had repented of their promise and sent a messenger to say 
that they would not attend because the meeting claimed au- 
thority to call them to an account. The delegates, therefore, 
were compelled to content themselves with a proposal that the 
people hold such a meeting annually to discuss the qualifica- 
tions of candidates for the Assembly, to inform their repre- 
sentatives of their wishes, and to investigate the official acts 
of public officers. But public office-holders in 1766 did not 
acknowledge their responsibility to the people. Accordingly 
they threw all of their personal and official influence against 
the proposal, and the Sandy Creek men, discouraged at the 
lack of popular interest and support, abandoned their project. 
Though the agitation continued, no further organized op- 
position was attempted until the spring of 1768. Almost 
simultaneously a report reached Hillsboro that the Assembly 
had given the governor £15,000 for a "Palace" and the sheriff 
posted notices that he would receive taxes only at five speci- 
fied places and if required to go elsewhere he would distrain 
at a cost of 2s. 8d. for each distress. The coincidence caused 
wide comment. The people declared they would not pay the 
tax for the Palace. They denounced the sheriff's purpose as 
a violation of the law and determined to resist it. Accordingly 
they organized themselves into an association, which they 
later called "The Regulation," in which they agreed: (1) to 
pay no more taxes until satisfied that they were according to 
law and lawfully applied ; (2) to pay no fees greater than pro- 
vided by law; (3) to attend meetings of the Regulators as 
often as possible ; (4) to contribute, each man according to his 
ability, to the expenses of the organization; and (5) in all mat- 
ters to abide by the will of the majority. They sent to the 
officers a notice in which they demanded a strict accounting 
and declared that "as the nature of an officer is a servant of 
the publick, we are determined to have the officers of this 
county under a better and honester regulation than they have 
been for some time past.' 1 This formidable pronunciamento 
was received by the officers with an outburst of indignation. 


Fanning denounced the people for attempting to arraign the 
officers before "the bar of their shallow understanding" and 
charged them with desiring to set themselves up as the "sove- 
reign arbiters of right and wrong. ' ' 

The officers seem not to have appreciated the gravity of 
the situation ; or else they desired to put the resolution of the 
Eegulators to a test. No other explanation seems possible for 
their blunder, when the situation was acutest, in seizing a 
Eegulator's horse, saddle, and bridle and selling them for 
taxes. A storm of popular fury greeted this challenge. The 
Regulators rode into Hillsboro, overawed the officers, rescued 
their comrade's property, and as evidence of their temper 
fired several shots into Fanning 's house. When this affair 
was reported to Fanning, who was absent attending court at 
Halifax, he promptly ordered the arrest of William Butler, 
Peter Craven, and Ninian Bell Hamilton, called out seven 
companies of the Orange militia, and hurried to Hillsboro to 
take command. Immediately upon his arrival he reported the 
situation and his own actions to Tryon and asked for author- 
ity to call out the militia of other counties if it became neces- 
sary/ The governor, who quite properly accepted his subor- 
dinate's report at its face value, acted with his accustomed 
vigor. He authorized Fanning to use the Orange militia to 
suppress the insurrection, ordered the militia of Bute, Hali- 
fax, Granville, Rowan, Mecklenburg, Anson, Cumberland, and 
Johnston counties to be in readiness to respond to Fanning 's 
call, sent a proclamation to be read to the people, and offered 
to go himself to the scene of action if Fanning desired his 
presence. The Council, declaring the Regulators guilty of 
insurrection, approved these actions of the governor. 

In the meantime the officers, alarmed at the storm they had 
raised, offered to meet the Regulators and adjust their dif- 
ferences. To Fanning they explained their offer as a subter- 
fuge to gain time. The Regulators on the contrary accepted 
it in good faith and immediately made preparations for the 
meeting. They appointed a committee to collect data relat- 
ing to the taxes and fees and required its members to take an 
oath to do justice between the officers and the people to the 
best of their ability. Fanning was determined to prevent any 
such meeting. While the Regulators were making their prep- 
arations, he collected a band of armed men and swooping down 
upon Sandy Creek, arrested Butler and Husband on a charge 
of inciting* to rebellion and hurried them off to prison at Hills- 
boro. At this high-handed act 700 men, many of whom were 


not Regulators, seized their guns and marched on Hillsboro 
to rescue the prisoners. It was now the officers' turn to be- 
come frightened. They threw open the prison doors, released 
their captives, and hurried them off to turn back the mob. 
Along with them went Isaac Edwards, the governor's private 
secretary, who promised the people in the name of the gov- 
ernor that if they would peaceably disperse, go home quietly, 
and petition the governor in the proper manner, the governor 
would see that justice was done them. Since this promise was 
exactly in line with their own plans, which had been interrupted 
by the arrest of Husband and Butler, the Regulators accepted 
it gladly. In spite of Fanning 's opposition, they appointed 
a committee which prepared their case and laid it before the 
Igovernor. But Tryon repudiated the promise of his secre- 
tary, saying Edwards had exceeded his authority, refused to 
deal with the Regulators as an organization, demanded that 
they immediately disband, and expressed his hearty approval 
of Fanning 's course. At the same time he stated for the 
information of the people the amount of poll tax clue for the 
year 1767, promised to issue a proclamation forbidding the 
officers' taking illegal fees, and ordered the attorney-general 
to prosecute any officer charged in due form with extortion. 
In July, 1768, Tryon went to Hillsboro in the hopes that 
he might induce the people to submit to the laws. While he 
was there, the Regulators met to consider his reply to their 
petition. They told him that his proclamation forbidding the 
taking of illegal fees had had no effect, and they had decided 
to petition the Assembly in order to strengthen his hands. 
Other meetings were held and several communications, both 
verbal and written, passed between the governor and the 
Regulators. In one of them he told the Regulators that he 
was ever ready to do them justice and as evidence of it he 
had ordered the attorney-general to institute prosecutions 
against officers charged with extortion, one of whom was Colo- 
nel Fanning himself. In a letter written by the governor and 
approved by the Council, August 13, and sent to a meeting of 
the Regulators, August 17, appears the key to the explanation 
of the differences between the governor and the Regulators. 
The latter, either from distrust of the courts or ignorance of 
the law, expected the governor to give evidence of his sincerity 
by summary proceedings against the offending officials : the 
governor on the contrary knew that he could move only 
through the courts and that every step must be in due legal 
form. "By your letter delivered to me the 5th instant 


* *" he wrote, "I have the mortification to find 
the friendly aid I offered to correct the abuses in public offices 
(which it was my duty to tender) [is] considered by you insuf- 
ficient. The force of the proclamation was to caution public 
officers against and to prevent as much as possible extortion : 
It is the province of the Courts of Law to Judge and punish 
the Extortioner." At the same time he took them to task for 
their unwillingness to wait upon legal process against those 
whom they charged with abusing their public trust. 

One of Tryon's purposes in going to Hillsboro was to 
secure protection for the Superior Court when it met in Sep- 
tember to try Husband and Butler. Such protection could be 
secured either by obtaining from the leaders of the Regulators 
a bond that no attempt at rescue would be made, or other 
insult offered the court ; or by calling out the militia. Tryon 
preferred the first of these alternatives, since it would save 
the province a considerable expense, but the Regulators for 
very good reasons refused to give it. The governor, therefore, 
in the exercise of a wise precaution called out the militia. 
Some difficulty was encountered in enrolling a sufficient force 
since most of the people of the surrounding counties were 
tainted with Regulating principles, but Tryon tactfully won. 
over the leading preachers of the Lutherans, Presbyterians, 
and Baptists and largely through their influence secured 195 
men from Rowan, 310 from Mecklenburg, 126 from Granville, 
and 699 from Orange. Two small independent companies, an 
artillery company, and the general officers brought the force 
up to 1,461 men. It was one of the most remarkable organiza- 
tions in military history. More than one-fifth of the entire 
force were commissioned officers. They included six lieuten- 
ant-generals, two major-generals, three adjutant-generals, 
seven colonels, five lieutenant-colonels, and many majors, cap- 
tains, aids-de-camp, and minor officers. Characteristically 
enough, Edmund Fanning, who was to be tried for extortion 
by the court which this imposing array was called out to pro- 
tect, and Maurice Moore, who was to sit as an associate justice 
of the court, were both colonels in active command. Most of 
the high officers were councilmen, representatives, justices, or 
holders of other political offices. At a council of war held in 
Hillsboro, attended by no officer of lower rank than major, 
thirty-four members were present, of whom six were members 
of the Council, eighteen of the Assembly. ' ' Thus, ' ' comments 
Dr. Bassett, "to guard the Superior Court a military force 
was called out which embraced, either as high officers or as 


gentlemen volunteers, one-fourth of the members of that body 
[the Assembly] to which the Regulators had decided to ap- 
peal. The above contrast indicates how completely the forces 
of central and local government, both civil and military, were 
in the hands of a small office-holding class, which was dis- 
tributed throughout the counties. As we contemplate such a 
state of affairs we are struck with the fact that nothing short 
of a popular upheaval could have brought redress to the 
Regulators. ' ' 1 

Tryon's precautions were wisely taken. The Regulators 
assembled to the number of 3,700, but, overawed by the gover- 
nor's display of force, made no attempt to interfere with the 
proceedings of the court. Husband was tried and acquitted; 
Butler and two other Regulators were convicted and sen- 
tenced to fines and imprisonment. None of them, however, 
was punished, for Tryon, having vindicated the authority of 
government, adopted a policy of leniency. He released the 
prisoners and suspended the payment of their fines, and later, 
upon the advice of the king, pardoned them. Fanning was 
tried for extortion and found guilty on five counts, but the 
judges, upon a motion in arrest of judgment, held their judg- 
ment in reserve, and so far as the records show no further 
action was ever taken on the case. Fanning promptly re- 
signed his office as register. The Regulators pointed to the 
result as justifying their distrust of the courts. In this 
instance, however, their distrust was not well-founded for 
from any point of view, Fanning was guilty of nothing worse 
than a misconstruction of the law. It seems clear that he was 
not even guilty of that. He was charged with taking 6s. for 
registering a deed when, it was alleged, he was entitled to only 
2s. 8d. Yet before entering upon his office he was advised by 
the county court that he was entitled to 6s. and odd pence, 
while the attorney-general of the colony had advised him that 
he was entitled to 8s. 7d. on any deed. After his conviction 
the case was referred to the attorney-general of England and 
to John Morgan of the Inner Temple, London, both of whom 
were of opinion that not only w T as Fanning entitled to more 
than he took, but that under no aspect of the case could he 
be guilty of extortion, since his action in seeking advice from 
the county court clearly disproved any intention to commit 

1 "The Regulators of North Carolina," p. 178 of the Annual Re- 
port of the American Historical Association, 1894. 


a fraud. 2 But the Regulators were in no frame of mind to 
appreciate these fine points ; all they could see was that Fan- 
ning, although found guilty of extortion, had escaped punish- 
ment, and they bitterly resented the outcome. 

In the meantime the Regulating spirit had spread to other 
counties. In some of them it found expression in acts of vio- 
lence. A band of about thirty men from Edgecombe County 
attempted unsuccessfully to rescue an insurgent leader who 
had been imprisoned in the Halifax jail. In Johnston County 
a mob attacked the county court. In Anson a hundred armed 
men entered the courthouse, broke up the sitting of the county 
court, drove the justices off the bench, and then entered into 
an oath-bound association to assist each other in resisting all 
efforts of the sheriff to collect taxes. Later, however, appar- 
ently upon the advice of the Orange County Regulators, the 
Anson Regulators abandoned violent methods and sought a 
redress of their grievances through a petition to the governor, 
from whom they received the same promise that had been 
given to the Regulators of Orange. In Rowan County, also, 
an organization existed which attempted to prosecute the of- 
ficers for extortion, but failed because the grand jury refused 
to return true bills. 

The courts failing them, the Regulators decided to appeal 
to the Assembly. In the summer of 1769, the governor dis- 
solved the old Assembly and ordered the election of a new one. 
In Orange, Anson, Granville, and Halifax counties the Regu- 
lators returned their entire delegations while they made their 
influence felt in Rowan and other counties. When the Assem- 
bly met, several petitions were presented setting forth the 
grievances of the Regulators together with their suggestions 
for reform. The Assembly certainly was not unsympathetic 
with their appeal, but because of some resolutions which it 

2 The whole trouble lay in the differences between the popular and 
the legal construction of the law. For registering a deed the law al- 
lowed a fee of 2s. 8d. Fanning was accused of extortion because in reg- 
istering Deed 13 he had charged 6s. Besides the deed itself, there were 
three endorsements which required to be registered. To the people, 
deed and endorsements formed a single instrument for which the 
register could collect one fee ; to Fanning they formed four instru- 
ments on each of which he was entitled to a fee. Fanning 's construc- 
tion was upheld by the attorney-general of North Carolina, the attor- 
ney-general of England, and John Morgan of the Inner Temple. 
Morgan gave it as his opinion that Fanning was entitled to four fees, 
viz. : (1) For the deed ; (2) for the certificate of the examination of the 
feme covert; (3) for the certificate of the persons examining; (4) for 
the oath of execution and order to register. 


had adopted on the questions at issue between the colonies and 
the British ministry, it suffered a sudden and unexpected dis- 
solution before it could take up the measures necessary to 
redress the Regulators' grievances. It showed its attitude 
toward their petitions, however, by resolving just before dis- 
solution, "that if any public officer shall exact illegal fees, or 
otherwise under colour of his office unduly oppress the people, 
such officer so acting shall on conviction thereof receive the 
highest censure and punishment this House can inflict upon 
him." The men who composed the Assembly appeared to be 
so ready to listen to the complaints of the Regulators that 
James Iredell declared a majority of them were themselves 
of Regulating principles. 

It seems clear that legal remedies would have been pro- 
vided for their grievances had the Regulators been willing to 
wait upon the slow process of lawmaking. That the laws 
needed amendment was not denied, but the Assembly from 
its very nature as a legislative body could not move with the 
speed which the impatience of the Regulators demanded. The 
reformer is naturally a radical, the lawmaker is, or ought to 
be, a conservative, and when he does not move fast enough for 
the reformer, the latter frequently becomes impatient and 
runs into excesses in words or deeds. So it was with the Reg- 
ulators. Impatience at what they considered the indifference 
of all branches of the colonial government to their grievances 
led them into excesses which no government entitled to the 
name could think of condoning. For, to break into courts of 
justice, driving the judges from the bench, to "tear down 
justice from her tribunal," and contemptuously to set up mock 
courts filling the records with billingsgate and profanity; 
to drag unoffending attorneys through the streets at the peril 
of their lives, and wantonly to assault peaceable citizens for 
refusing to sympathize with lawlessness — these surely are not 
proper methods of redressing grievances, however oppressive, 
in a civilized community under a government based upon the 
will of the people. 

Such were the methods which lost the Regulators the 
sympathy of the Assembly and compelled both the king's gov- 
ernor and the people's representatives to look less to the re- 
dress of grievances than to the suppression of anarchy. When 
the Superior Court, Judge Richard Henderson presiding, met 
at Hillsboro, in September, 1770, a mob of 150 Regulators, 
led by Herman Husband, James Hunter, Rednap Howell, and 
William Butler, armed with sticks and switches, broke into 


the courthouse, attempted to strike the judge, and compelled 
him to leave the bench. They next assaulted and severely 
whipped John Williams, whose only offense was that he was 
a practicing- attorney. William Hooper was "dragged and 
paraded through the streets, and treated with every mark of 
contempt and insult. ' ' Turning next to Edmund Fanning, the 
mob pulled him out of the courthouse by his heels, dragged 
him through the street, and gave him a brutal whipping. 
Breaking into his house, they burned his papers, destroyed his 
furniture, and demolished the building. Alexander Martin, 
Michael Holt, Thomas Hart, "and many others," were 
whipped. Rioting through the streets of the town, the Regu- 
lators amused themselves in typical mob-fashion by smashing 
the windows of private residences and terrorizing the inhab- 
itants. Unable to enforce order Judge Henderson adjourned 
court and escaped from the town under cover of darkness. 
The next day the Regulators assembled in the courtroom, set 
up a mock court, secured the docket, and entered upon it their 
own judgments and comments upon the several cases. In 
McMund vs. Courtney the comment was "Damn'd Rogues;" 
in Wilson vs. Harris, "All Harris's are Rogues;" in Brum- 
field vs. Ferrel, ' ' Nonsense let them agree for Ferrell has gone 
Hellward;" in Brown vs. Lewis, wherein judgment was en- 
tered by default, it was "The Man was sick. It tis damned 
roguery;" in Fanning vs. Smith, "Fanning pays costs but 
loses nothing;" in Hogan vs. Husbands, "Hogan pays & be 
damned;" in Richardson vs. York, "Plaintiff pays all and 
gets his body scourged for Blasphemy;" while in Humphries 
vs. Jackson the entry is "Judgment by default the money 
must come to the officers." 

These outrages threw the colonial officials into a panic. 
The Orange County officials loudly demanded a special session 
of the Assembly. The governor hastily summoned the Coun- 
cil to give their advice as to "the properest measures to be 
taken in the exigency." The Council urged that the militia 
be immediately called into active service. The air was full of 
rumors. First came news of the burning by incendiaries of 
Judge Henderson's dwelling and stables in Granville County. 
Hard upon this report, followed rumors that the Regulators 
were gathering in force for a descent upon New Bern to over- 
awe the Assembly. In the midst of the excitement the Assem- 
bly met, December 5th. "Born as it was in terror," says 
Dr. Bassett, "it is not surprising that it should have passed 
away in blood. ' ; For a time the members kept their heads 


admirably. In their reply to the governor's message they 
declared that the conduct of public officers in some parts of 
the colony had "given just cause of complaint" which was 
due chiefly to "an inconsistent and oppressive fee Bill," and 
promised to remedy the evils as far as possible. Acts were 
accordingly passed relating to the appointment of sheriffs 
and their duties, ascertaining attorneys' fees, more strictly 
regulating officers' fees, providing for the more speedy col- 
lection of small debts, placing the chief justice on a salary, 
and erecting the counties of Wake, Guilford, Chatham, and 
Surry, all lying in the region embraced within the Regula- 
tion. All these laws were in line with the demands of the 
Regulators. But while the House was considering them, a 
report was received that the Regulators had assembled at 
Cross Creek preparatory for their march on New Bern. Re- 
formatory measures were hastily side-tracked and punitive 
measures given the right of way. The Assembly had already 
in its message to the governor denounced the "daring and in- 
solent attack" of the Regulators on the court at Hillsboro; 
declared that their "dissolute principles and licentious spirit" 
rendered them too formidable for the ordinary process of law; 
and recommended the adoption of "measures at once spirited 
and decisive." The measure adopted was introduced by Sam- 
uel Johnston and is generally known as the "Johnston Act.' ; 
It provided that the attorney-general might prosecute charges 
of riot in any Superior Court in the province, declared out- 
laws all those who avoided the summons of the court for 
sixty days, allowed such outlaws to be killed with impunity, 
and authorized the governor to employ the militia to enforce 
the law. Like most laws passed in passion and fear its very 
severity largely defeated its purpose. As Haywood truly re- 
marks, it is doubtful if so drastic a measure ever passed 
another American assembly; but the Assembly felt, as James 
Iredell expressed it, that "desperate diseases must have des- 
perate remedies." 

The Regulators met the Assembly's "desperate remedies" 
with defiance. Husband having been expelled from the Assem 
bly and imprisoned at New Bern for a libel on Maurice Moore, 
the Regulators were prevented from releasing him by force 
only by the grand jury's failure to return a true bill against 
him. Determined to extend and strengthen their organiza- 
tion, they dispatched emissaries into Bute, Edgecombe, and 
Northampton to stimulate and organize disaffection in those 
counties. In Rowan they denounced the Assembly for passing 


a "riotous act," swore they would pay no fees, resolved that 
no judge or king's attorney should hold any court in Rowan, 
threatened death to all clerks and lawyers who came among 
them, and declared Edmund Fanning an outlaw whom any 
Regulator might kill on sight. Rednap Howell, writing from 
Halifax to James Hunter, February 16, 1771, said: "I give 
out here that the Regulators are determined to whip every one 
who goes to Law or will not pay his just debts; 
that they will choose Representatives but not send them to be 
put in jail; in short to stand in defiance and as to thieves to 
drive them out of the Country." When Tryon appointed a 
term of Superior Court to be held at Hillsboro in March, 1771, 
the judges filed with the Council a formal protest saying that 
under the conditions existing in that part of the province 
which were ''rather increasing than declining," they could 
not hold such a court with any hopes of dispatching business 
or any prospect of personal safety to themselves; and the 
Council, thinking that the time had come for law to take a 
stand against anarchy, advised the governor to call out the 
militia and march against the Regulators "with all expedi- 
tion." This advice was hailed with relief by the law-abiding 
people of the colony, who were worn out with the reign of 
violence, lawlessness, and terrorism which the Regulators had 
set up. 

Tryon lost no time in getting his military preparations 
under way. He ordered General Hugh Waddell with the Cape 
Fear militia to proceed at once to Salisbury to overawe the 
Rowan Regulators, raise the western militia, and march on 
Hillsboro from the west. Tryon himself in command of the 
eastern militia was to march from New Bern and unite with 
"Waddell at Hillsboro. On March 19th, he ordered the colonels 
of the several counties to hold militia musters and secure 2,550 
volunteers. In the counties affected by the influence of the 
Regulators difficulties in raising men arose, and in none of the 
counties were the quotas secured. Altogether Tryon raised a 
force of 1,068 men, of whom 151 were commissioned officers, 
while Waddell raised 284 men, of whom 48 were commissioned 
officers. Among these officers were Robert Howe, Alexander 
Lillington, James Moore, John Ashe, Riehard Caswell, Fran- 
cis Nash, and Griffith Rutherford, all of whom subsequently 
won military distinction in the war of the Revolution, and 
Abner Nash, John Baptista Ashe, and Willie Jones, who at- 
tained high civil positions during and after the Revolution. 
Tryon reached Hillsboro May 9 without meeting any opposi- 


tion, but Waddell had been checked by a superior force of 
Regulators and because his men would not fire on them was 
compelled to fall back on Salisbury. Consequently he did not 
join Tryon until after the battle of Alamance. 

On May 14, Tryon encamped on Great Alamance Creek, a 
few miles west of Hillsboro. Two days later he formed his 
line of battle and marched forward to meet the enemy who 
had gathered about 2,000 strong. The Regulators were nu- 
merically superior to the militia, but the latter enjoyed every 
other advantage. Neither side really wanted to bring on a 
battle. Tryon still hoped that the Regulators upon his display 
of force would submit and disperse, while the Regulators had 
not lost hope of securing a peaceable adjustment of their 
quarrel. Accordingly while the two forces lay on their arms 
facing each other, each reluctant to bring matters to a final 
test, they sent a petition to the governor requesting to be per- 
mitted to lay their grievances before him. To this petition 
Tryon very properly replied that as long as they remained 
under arms in "a state of War and Rebellion," he could hold 
no negotiations with them, and demanded that they disperse 
and submit to the laws of their country. He gave them one 
hour to come to a decision. The infatuated people treated his 
reply with contempt and foolishly declared that a fight was 
all they wanted. At the expiration of the hour, Tryon sent an 
officer to receive their reply. The officer told them that unless 
they dispersed the governor would fire upon them. "Fire and 
be damned ! ' ' was their answer. Thereupon the governor gave 
the order. His men hesitated. Rising in his stirrups he cried 
out, "Fire! Fire on them or on me!" The militia obeyed, 
the Regulators replied, and the action became general. Or- 
ganization and discipline as usual won the day. After two 
hours of fighting the undisciplined mob was driven in con- 
fusion from the field. Perhaps the most remarkable feature 
of this remarkable battle was the poor marksmanship on both 
sides. Tryon 's casualties were nine killed, sixty-one wounded, 
the Regulators' casualties were nine killed and a large unas- 
certained number wounded. Fifteen Regulators were cap- 
tured, one of whom, James Few, who had previously been out- 
lawed, was summarily executed in compliance with the insist- 
ence of the militia, who demanded an example. 

After his victory, Tryon 's course was marked by good 
judgment and leniency. He had the wounded Regulators 
cared for by his own surgeons. The next day he issued a 
proclamation offering pardon to those, with a few exceptions, 


who would submit to the government and take the oath of 
allegiance. Fourteen of the prisoners taken in the battle were 
tried at a special term of the Superior Court, twelve of whom 
were convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. Six of 
the number were hanged, the others at Try on 's request were 
pardoned by the king. 

Alamance was the climax of Tryon's administration in 
North Carolina. He had already received notice of his ap- 
pointment as governor of New York, and a few days after his 
victory he bade his army farewell and set out for his new 
province. He was soon followed by Edmund Fanning. 

The Regulation was at an end. Its leaders were dead, 
fugitives, or in concealment, its members scattered and dis- 
heartened. James Few had been executed on the battlefield. 
Benjamin Merrill and James Pugh, convicted of treason, had 
paid the penalty for their crime, Husband, Howell, and Hun- 
ter had sought safety in flight. Hamilton, Butler, and others 
were in hiding. After Tryon's departure some of these lead- 
ers, who had been excepted from his offer of general amnesty, 
applied to his successor, Governor Josiah Martin, for pardon 
which, however, was not then granted. The Regulators gen- 
erally availed themselves of Tryon's offer of pardon. Within 
six weeks after the battle of Alamance, 6,409 had submitted to 
the government and taken the oath of allegiance. The British 
government advised the General Assembly to pass a general 
amnesty act, but the two houses could not agree on its tenns 
and the proposed act failed of passage. The course of events, 
however, favored the cause of the Regulators. In 1775, when 
the men who had followed Tryon at Alamance were them- 
selves organizing committees, congresses, and armies for re- 
bellion, the old Regulators manifested such a "favorable dis- 
position" toward the royal government that the king sent to 
his governor in North Carolina "a Power, under the Great 
Seal, to pardon all those who were concerned in the Rebellious 
Insurrections in 1770, Herman Husband only excepted." 
About the same time the Provincial Congress sitting at Hills : 
boro and presided over by the author of the Johnston Act, re- 
solved that the former Regulators "ought to be protected 
from every attempt to punish them by any Means whatever." 
Thus the despised and feared "banditti" of the back country, 
courted by king and revolutionists alike, found safety in the 
quarrels of their former enemies, and had they been asked 
to express their view of the situation they would probably 


have quoted the old adage that when thieves fall out, honest 
men get their dues. 

In any discussion of the Regulation the question arises. 
Did the Regulators begin the Revolution and at Alamance 
shed the first blood in the cause of independence? Upon the 
answer to this question must depend our judgment of the his- 
torical importance of the Regulation. The Regulators made 
no such claim for themselves : on the contrary when an oppor- 
tunity was offered to fight for independence a great majority 
of them arrayed themselves against it. The oath which Tryon 
compelled them to take after the battle of Alamance is often 
urged as a sufficient justification of their course during the 
Revolution ; but every American who pleaded the cause or 
fought the battles of independence had repeatedly taken a sim- 
ilar oath. There is a fundamental difference, which Dr. Bas- 
sett points out, between the Regulation and the Revolution. 
The Regulators were not contending for a great constitutional 
principle lying at the very foundation of human government 
such as inspired the men who fought the Revolution. Every 
grievance of which the former complained could have been 
removed by their own representatives in an assembly chosen 
by the people ; the American people sent no representatives to 
the British Parliament. The former, therefore, resisted op- 
pressive methods of administering laws passed by their own 
representatives ; the latter, it need scarcely be said, revolted 
against taxation without representation. The one was an 
insurrection, the other a revolution. The distinction is plain 
and goes to the root of the whole matter. A revolution in- 
volves a change of principles in government and is constitu- 
tional in its significance ; an insurrection is an uprising of 
individuals to prevent the execution of laws and aims at a 
change of agents who administer, or the manner of adminis- 
tering affairs under forms or principles that remain intact. 
There is of course all the difference in the world between the 
two. It is this difference, for instance, that raises the resist- 
ance to the Stamp Act on the Cape Fear far above the revolt 
of the Regulators in dignity and significance, and elevates the 
former but not the latter above the level of a riot, The Ameri- 
cans denied the validity of the Stamp Act because in passing- 
it Parliament, as they believed, assumed to itself an authority 
which it did not rightfully possess, and thus undermined their 
constitutional liberties. The Regulators did not dispute the 
constitutional right of the Assembly to enact the laws of which 
they complained ; they merely objected to the improper execu- 


tion of those laws. Then, too, there is no continuity between 
the Regulation and the Revolution. The principles of the re- 
volt against the Stamp Act did not die with the repeal of the 
act, but became the living issues in the great Revolution. The 
movement of the Regulators expended itself at Alamance and 
died out with the removal of the causes and persons which 
gave rise to it. However just their cause may have been, it did 
not involve a vital principle of political freedom, and it seems 
clear that it is a total misconception of the real significance of 
the American Revolution as well as of the Regulation to call 
Alamance the first battle in the cause of independence. 




When Tryon took the oath of office April 3, 1765, the Stamp 
Act was the chief topic of discussion in the political circles of 
America. The new governor was a man of much greater force 
and ability than any of his predecessors. Courtly, versatile, 
tactful and resourceful, he knew how to win the favor of men 
and understood the secrets of leadership. If any man could 
have induced the people of North Carolina to accept the Stamp 
Act, he was the man. But those with whom he had to contend 
were men of equal ability and determination and had, more- 
over, far more at stake than he. Before his arrival they had 
already made up their minds what course they intended to pur- 
sue. At the October session, 1764, the Assembly in their reply 
to Governor Dobbs' address declared their opposition to the 
right of Parliament to impose internal taxes in the colonies 
as being "against what we esteem our Inherent right and Ex- 
clusive privilege of imposing our own Taxes," and had united 
with Massachusetts and the other colonies in protesting 
against the proposed stamp duty. When Tryon asked John 
Ashe, speaker of the Assembly, what the attitude of the col- 
ony would be toward the Stamp Act, Ashe promptly replied 
with great confidence: "We will resist it to the death." 

In this determination the representatives received loyal sup- 
port from their constituents. Indeed, from the first, opposi- 
tion to the Stamp Act in North Carolina was a popular move- 
ment, though directed and controlled by a few trusted leaders. 
At Cross Creek, New Bern, Edenton, and other places in the 
province, during the summer of 1765, public demonstrations 
were made against it. But for obvious reasons the Cape Fear, 
as the center of the colony's trade and the residence of the 
governor, became the chief scene of the resistance and its 
course determined the course of the province. At Wilmington 
large crowds gathered from the surrounding counties, drank 
"Liberty, Property and no Stamp Duty;" hanged Lord Bute 
voi. i-2i 32i 


in effigy; compelled the stamp master, William Houston, to re- 
sign his office ; and required Andrew Steuart, the printer, to 
issue the North Carolina Gazette on unstamped paper. 
Alarmed at these demonstrations, Try on called into consulta- 
tion a number of the leading merchants, assured them if they 
would not resist the Stamp Act, that he would urge the minis- 
try to exempt North Carolina from its operation, and offered 
"as a further inducement to the reception of the small 
stamps" and as a pledge of 'his good faith, to pay himself the 
duties on all instruments whereon he was entitled to any fee. 
To this shrewd proposition the merchants replied that every 
view of the Stamp Act confirmed them in their opinion that 
it was destructive of those liberties which, as British subjects, 
they had a right to enjoy in common with their fellow subjects 
of Great Britain; that they could not consent to his paying 
for the small stamps as "an admission of part would put it 
out of our power to refuse with any propriety a submission, 
to the whole;" that they thought, therefore, it "more con- 
sistent as well as securer conduct" to resist the execution of 
the act to the utmost of their power. 

The issues were thus joined. But no occasion arose to put 
the resolution of the people to a test until November 28th, when 
the sloop Diligence, Captain Constantine Phipps, with an 
assignment of stamps, cast anchor at Brunswick. Quickly 
spread the news of her arrival. Up and down the Cape Fear, 
and far into the country, men snatched their rifles and hurried 
to Brunswick. Under the command of Hugh Waddell and John 
Ashe, they presented a resolute front to the king's man-of- 
war, and declared their purpose to resist by force if necessary 
any attempt to land the king's stamps. Captain Phipps pru- 
dently declined to test the sincerity of their threat and made 
no attempt to carry the stamps ashore. A month passed, and 
Governor Tryon wrote, "the Stamps still remain on board the 
said ship;" and after still another month, he added, "where 
they still continue." It is impossible now to realize fully 
just what such conduct meant, but we may be sure that Ashe 
and Waddell, and the men who followed them, knew what they 
dared when, with arms in their hands, they thus defied the 
king's officers. Treason it was, of course; but while the mer- 
chants and planters of J;he Cape Fear might have felt confident 
of escaping the penalties of treason they well knew they could 
not, if the situation remained long unchanged, escape the penal- 
ties of ruin. Vessels rocked idly at their anchorage and sails 
flapped lazily against their masts, for Wilmington and Brims- 


wick were closed ports. Ships bound for the Cape Fear passed 
by to other ports, and the merchants expected nothing less than 
the total destruction of their trade. Nevertheless, as Tryon 
wrote, they were "as assiduous in obstructing the reception 
of the Stamps as any of the inhabitants. No business, ' ' he con- 
tinued, "is transacted in the Courts of Judicature 
and all Civil Government is now at a stand. This stagnation 
of all public business and commerce, under the low circum- 
stances of the inhabitants, must be attended with fatal conse- 
quences to this colony if it subsists but for a few months 
longer." The situation in other parts of the colony was no 
better. "Tho' the people here," wrote the Rev. James Reed 
of New Bern, "are peaceable and quiet yet they seem very 
uneasy, discontented, and dejected. The Courts of Justice are 
in a great measure shut up and it is expected that in a few 
weeks there will be a total stagnation of trade." 

With the opening of the New Year the struggle reached its 
climax. Two vessels arrived at Brunswick, the Dobbs from 
Philadelphia, and the Patience from St. Christopher, neither 
of which had stamps on her clearance papers. Although 
each vessel presented to the collector, William Dry, a 
statement signed by the collectors at Philadelphia and St. 
Christopher that no stamps were to be had at either place, 
nevertheless Captain Jacob Lobb, of the cruiser Viper, de- 
clared both vessels outlaws and seized them in the name of 
the king. Later a third vessel, the Ruby, shared a like fate. 
Captain Lobb delivered their papers to Collector Dry that pro- 
ceedings might be instituted against them in the Admiralty 
Court. Thereupon Dry consulted the attorney-general, sub- 
mitting to him three queries: first, whether failure to obtain 
clearances on stamped paper justified the seizures; second, 
whether judgment ought to be given against the vessels "upon 
proof being made that it was impossible to obtain clearances ' ; 
on stamped paper ; third, whether the proceedings should be 
instituted in the Admiralty Court at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 
rather than at Cape Fear. 

The passions of the people were profoundly stirred by these 
proceedings, but while the attorney-general was preparing his 
answer, they were admirably suppressed. When the answer 
was finally given, it was an affirmative to each of the collector's 
questions. Instantly the smothered flames flared into open con- 
flagration. The people generally entered into an association 
that "We the subscribers * mutually and solemnly 

plight Our Faith and Honour that We Will at any Risque 


whatever, and whenever called upon, Unite and Truly and 
Faithfully Assist each other, to the best of Our Power, in pre- 
venting entirely the Operation of the Stamp Act. ' ' Wilming- 
ton peremptorily refused the usual provisions to the king's 
vessels, the angry people seized the boats sent ashore for sup- 
plies and threw their crews into the common jail. Forty of 
the leading men of the Cape Fear section joined in a letter to 
William Dry warning him against the course advised by the 
attorney-general. A party of unknown men entered the col- 
lector's house, broke open his desk, and seized the ships' 
papers. The people of the surrounding counties snatched 
their guns, hurried to Wilmington, organized an armed asso- 
ciation composed of "the principal gentlemen, freeholders and 
other inhabitants of several counties," took an oath to resist 
the Stamp Act to the death, and marched to Brunswick to 
rescue the outlawed vessels. 

It was late in the afternoon of February 19th, when 
they entered the little village before which lay the king's 
cruiser and near which the king's governor dwelt. Hear- 
ing at Brunswick that Captain Lobb was concealing 
himself in the governor's house, the "inhabitants in arms," 
as Tryon always called them, turned their steps in that direc- 
tion. Though fully determined to seize Lobb and force him 
to surrender the vessels, the leaders were equally determined 
to protect the governor from insult. Accordingly, Cornelius 
Harnett and George Moore waited on him in advance of their 
followers and offered him a guard. But they had misjudged 
their man. Whatever else he mav have been, William Trvon 
was not a coward. He haughtily commanded that no guard 
be sent to give its protection where it was neither necessary 
nor desired, and with this rebuff, Moore and Harnett retired. 
Immediately a band of armed men surrounded the house and 
demanded the surrender of Captain Lobb. But Tryon stood 
firm, and peremptorily refused to communicate any informa- 
tion to the "inhabitants in arms," saying that as they had 
arms in their hands they might break open his locks, force his 
doors, and search his house if they chose to do so. But the 
leaders, having no quarrel with Tryon, were not ready for 
such violent measures; and learning in some other way that 
Captain Lobb was not there, they detailed a small guard to 
watch the governor's house and withdrew to Brunswick for 
the night. 

The next morning a delegation from the "inhabitants in 
arms" went aboard the Viper and demanded the release of 
the Buby and the Patience. The Dobbs, having given proper 


security, bad already been released. Afraid to refuse and un- 
willing to comply, Lobb begged a respite till the after- 
noon. In the meantime be held a conference with the governor 
and other officials to whom he declared his purpose to release 
the Ruby, at the same time expressing his unalterable deter- 
mination to hold fast to the Patience. Half a loaf to the 
people and half to the government, he thought ought to satisfy 
both. It did satisfy Tryon who expressed his approval 
of the division. At the same time he urged Lobb not to con- 
sider him, his family or his property as he was only "solicitous 
for the honor of the government and his Majesty's interest in 
the present exigency." "With this understanding the con- 
ference was brought to a close. But the other party was not 
so easily satisfied. When the delegation from the "inhabitants 
in arms" returned to the Viper they dissented so vigorously, 
that Captain Lobb was forced to surrender to thenl both 
their half and the government's half also. He based his com- 
pliance on the ground that he did not think ' ' it proper to detain 
the sloop Ruby any longer," and had suddenly discovered 
there were "perishable commodities on board the sloop Pa- 
tience." But such transparent excuses could not deceive the 
governor. Tryon was utterly astonished when he learned that 
Lobb had surrendered completely to the people, but his aston- 
ishment was turned to disgust and contempt upon hearing that 
Lobb in a fit of fright had directed the commanding officer at 
Fort Johnston to spike his guns lest they be captured and 
turned on the king's ships by "the inhabitants in arms." His 
reprimand was severe and contemptuous. The detention of 
the Patience, Tryon declared, was "a point that concerned 
the honor of the government," Lobb's surrender of the vessel 
he considered a breach of faith for it made his situation "very 
unpleasant, as most of the people by going up to Wilmington 
in the sloops would remain satisfied and report through the 
province they had obtained every point they came to redress," 
while Lobb's excuses for the order to Captain Dalrymple, 
commander at Fort Johnston, the governor denounced as "to- 
tally contrary to every sentiment I entertained." 

But Tryon himself was not to he exempt from similar treat- 
ment. It is true the people had obtained every point they came 
to redress, but their work was not finished until they had made 
sure no other points would arise that would require redressing. 
There could be no assurance of this, so long as there remained 
in the province any royal official with authority to sell stamps 
and seize vessels who was at liberty to exercise his authority. 
Accordingly the leaders made up their minds to take the same 


precaution against this as they had taken in the case of 
Houston. During - the afternoon of February 20th, wrote 
Tryon, "Mr. Pennington, his Majesty's Comptroller, came to 
let me know there had been a search after him, and as he 
guessed they wanted him to do some act that would be incon- 
sistent with the duty of his office, he came to acquaint me with 
this enquiry and search." The governor offered the comp- 
troller a bed for the night and the protection of his roof, both 
of which the frightened official gratefully accepted. Early the 
next morning the "inhabitants in arms" sent Colonel James 
Moore to demand that they be permitted to speak with Pen- 
nington. To this demand Tryon replied: "Mr. Pennington 
being employed by his Excellency on dispatches for his Ma- 
jesty's service, any gentleman that has business with him 
may see him at the Governor's house." 

About ten o'clock Tryon observed "a body of men in arms 
from four to five hundred," moving toward his house. Tliree 
hundred yards away they drew up in line and sent a detach- 
ment of sixty men down the avenue to the door. The leader 
and spokesman of this detachment was Cornelius Harnett. 
Then followed the most dramatic scene of the struggle over 
the Stamp Act, a brief but intense contest between "William 
Tryon, representative of the king's government, and Cor- 
nelius Harnett, representative of the people's will, for posses- 
sion of one of the king's officers. Two better representatives 
of their respective causes could not have been found. Each 
was acute, determined and resourceful, and each sincere in 
believing his the better cause. Tryon, the ablest of the colo- 
nial governors and one of the most forceful Englishmen ever 
sent in an official capacity to America, "could accomplish 
more," we are told, "by the forcefulness of his personality 
and the awe inspired by his mere presence than other rulers 
could do by edicts and armies." 1 Cornelius Harnett "could 
be wary and circumspect, or decided and daring as exigency 
dictated or emergency required. " 2 In the interview that fol- 
lowed, Tryon had no forcefulness of personality or awe of 
presence which he could afford to hold in reserve ; and Harnett 
was compelled to be both wary and decided, both circumspect 
and daring. 

Harnett opened the interview by demanding that Penning- 
ton be permitted to accompany him. Tryon replied that the 

1 Smith, C. A.: "Our Debt to Cornelius Harnett," University of 
North Carolina Magazine, May, 1907, p. 383. 

2 Hooper, A. M. : "Cornelius Harnett," University of North Car- 
olina Magazine, Vol. IX, p. 334-335. 


comptroller had come into his house seeking refuge, that he 
was an officer of the Crown, and as such should receive all the 
protection the governor's roof and dignity of character could 
afford him. Harnett insisted. "The people," he said, "are 
determined to take him out of the house if he is longer de- 
tainecl, an insult," he added quickly, "which they wish to avoid 
offering to your Excellency." "An insult," retorted Tryon, 
"that will not tend to any consequences, since they have 
already offered every insult in their power, by investing my 
house and making me in effect a prisoner before any grievance 
or oppression has been first represented to me. ' ' During this 
conversation Pennington "grew very uneasy," and said "he 
would choose to go with the gentlemen," and the governor 
again repeated his offer of protection. But Pennington was 
doubtful of the governor's power to make good his offer, how- 
ever excellent his intentions might be, and he decided to go 
with Harnett. To the governor, however, he declared that 
whatever oaths might be required of him, he would consider as 
acts of compulsion and not of free will ; adding that he would 
rather resign his office than do anything inconsistent with his 
duty. "If that is your determination," replied the disgusted 
governor, "you had better resign before you leave here." 
Harnett quickly interposed his objection to this course, but 
Tryon insisted and Pennington agreed with him. Paper and 
ink were accordingly brought and the resignation was written 
and accepted. "Now, sir," said Tryon bitterly, "you may 
go;" and Harnett led the ex-comptroller out of the house to 
his followers who were waiting outside. 

The detachment then rejoined the main body of the "inhab- 
itants in arms," and the whole withdrew to the town. There 
they drew up in a large circle, placed the comptroller and the 
customs-house officials in the center, and administered to them 
all an oath "that they would not, directly or indirectly, by 
themselves, or an3^ other person employed under them, sign 
or execute in their several Offices, any stampt Papers, until 
the Stamp Act should be accepted by the province. ' ' The clerk 
of the court and other public officials, and all the lawyers, were 
sworn to the same effect; and as each took the pledge the 
cheers of the crowd bore the news to the enraged and baffled 
governor as he sat in his room keenly conscious of his defeat. 
The letter in which he described these events to his superiors 
in England, it has been truly said, "contained the must humil- 
iating acknowledgment of baffled pride and irredeemable 


failure that Tryon was ever called upon to pen." 3 Their work 
finished, the ''inhabitants in arms" dispersed quietly and 
quickly to their homes. 

"It is well worthy of observation," as the North Carolina 
Gazette boasted, "that few instances can be produced of such 
a number of men being together so long and behaving so well ; 
not the least noise or disturbance, nor any person seen dis- 
guised with liquor, during the whole of their stay in Bruns- 
wick; neither was any injury offered to any person, but the 
whole affair was conducted with decency and spirit, worthy 
the imitation of all the Sons of Liberty throughout the con- 
tinent. ' : This splendid record was due to the high character 
and lofty purposes of the men who led and who composed that 
body of men to whom Tryon always refers as "the inhabitants 
in arms." "The mayor and corporation of Wilmington," he 
wrote, "and most of the gentlemen and planters of the coun- 
ties of Brunswick, New Hanover, Duplin, and Bladen, with 
some masters of vessels, composed this corps." 

Throughout the contest Harnett and the other leaders re- 
ceived loyal support from the people. They were in the midst 
of it upon the day set by the governor's writ for the election 
of representatives to the Assembly. Wilmington manifested 
its approval of Harnett's course by electing him without oppo- 
sition, and New Hanover County unanimously elected John 
Ashe and James Moore. But the Assembly was not to meet 
any time soon. Tryon was too prudent a politician to convene 
a session while the people were in such a rebellious mood. He 
foresaw that Parliament would likely repeal the Stamp Act 
and hoped by announcing that fact when the Assembly met to 
insure the good humor of the lower house. It was not 
until November, therefore, that he ventured to face the people 's 
representatives. He opened the session with a conciliatory 
message. But the members, irritated at his delay in calling 
them together, replied with such asperity and show of temper, 
that the Council denounced their message as "altogether in- 
decent, without foundation and unmerited." The reply cut 
the governor to the quick, but he kept his temper and met the 
strictures of the Assembly with admirable moderation and 

AYhatever one may think of Tryon, there can be but one just 
opinion of his bearing throughout these trying ordeals. He 
bore himself on every occasion with dignity, courage and 

3 Smith: University of North Carolina Magazine, May, 1907, 
p. 384. 


fidelity to his trust. His dispatches even when acknowledging 
defeat are conspicuous for their good temper. We search in 
vain for the ill-tempered invectives and impassioned super- 
latives that characterize the dispatches both of Dobbs, his 
predecessor, and of Martin, his successor. Closing his letter 
to Secretary Conway, he says : ' ' Thus, sir, I have endeavored 
to lay before you the first springs of this disturbance as well 
as the particular conduct of the individual parties concerned 
in it and I have done this as much as I possibly could without 
prejudice or passion, favor or affection." The impartial 
reader will pronounce that in this endeavor he reached a re- 
markable degree of success. Nor was his courage less marked 
than his dignity. When shielding Lobb on the evening of 
February 10 and when standing between Pennington and the 
"inhabitants in arms" on the morning of the 21st, one feels 
sure that he would have seen his house go down in ruins or up 
in smoke before he would have yielded one inch to the besiegers. 
In this courage straight from his heart originated his un- 
feigned and unconcealed contempt for the conduct of Captain 
Lobb. We feel assured that William Tryon would have buried 
himself, his crew and his enemies in the bottom of the Cape 
Fear River beneath the wrecks of the Viper, the Diligence, 
the Dobbs, the Patience, and the Ruby, all, before he would 
have broken his engagement and embarrassed his superior 
officer. His sympathies were with the people in their strug- 
gle, and the duty imposed upon him a disagreeable one, 
but he faced it like a man and performed it faithfully. The 
king had entrusted him with the execution of the laws in North 
Carolina and that trust he regarded, rightly or wrongly, as 
superior to any obligations he owed to the people of the 
province. He was not their governor; he was the king's vice- 
gerent, and his first duty was to obey the commands of his 

To say this of Tryon is not to depreciate the honor and the 
glory that belong to his opponents. To Harnett and Ashe and 
Moore and Waddell and the men who followed them, North 
Carolinians owe their liberty, and no true American anywhere 
will deny to them the credit that belongs to those who see the 
right and fearlessly pursue it. Throughout the contest the 
"inhabitants in arms" carried every point at issue. But the 
most remarkable feature of the struggle was its absolute open- 
ness and orderliness. No attempt at concealment, no effort at 
disguise betrayed a doubt in the minds of the people that they 
were engaged in a righteous cause. The resistance was made 
by men on terms of familiarity with the governor, under the 


guns of the king's ships, and in the broad open light of day. 
Conscious of the rectitude of their purpose, the moral if not 
the legal right of their conduct, they felt that any attempt at 
concealment would be an admission, at least, of a doubt in their 
minds of the propriety of their course, and this they scorned 
to make. 

The Americans of course had not been left to fight their 
battle alone. They had sympathizers among every class of 
Englishmen. In Parliament itself an incomparable group of 
orators and statesmen, led by such men at Pitt, Burke, Barre, 
and Conway in the Commons, and Camden and Rockingham in 
the Lords, supported their petitions and remonstrances with 
an earnestness and ability which could have been born of noth- 
ing less than a firm conviction that they were fighting the battle 
of English as well as American freedom. The king and min- 
istry were finally forced to yield. The Stamp Act was re- 
pealed and the news was received throughout America with an 
outburst of joy and loyalty in which a wise ruler would have 
read a lesson of warning as well as of encouragment. North 
Carolina joined heartily in the rejoicing. New Bern cel- 
ebrated the event with a public banquet and ball. The mayor 
and ' ' Gentlemen of Wilmington, ' ' most of whom had recently 
been in arms against the governor, joined in a sincere address 
of congratulations to him. They assured him of their kindly 
sentiments toward him personally, explained that their recent 
opposition had been based solely upon their conviction that 
"Moderation ceases to be a Virtue when the Liberty of British 
Subjects is in danger," expressed appreciation of the "honor 
and justice of the British Parliament, whose prudent resolu- 
tions have relieved us from the Melancholy Dilemma to which 
we were almost reduced," and acknowledged the repeal as a 
mark of the king's ' ' attention to the Distresses of his American 
Subjects. ' ; The colony as a whole had no voice in these re- 
joicings because Tryon had refused to convene the Assembly, 
but when the Assembly did meet in November the members 
complained bitterly of the governor's action which had de- 
prived them of the opportunity "to concur with our Sister 
Colonies" in expressing their gratitude for "the tender and 
paternal care of our most Gracious Sovereign, and the wisdom 
and justice of the British Parliament. * But it is the 

peculiar misfortune of North Carolina," they continued, "to 
be deprived of those means which the other provinces peace- 
ably enjoy (and to which this has also an unquestionable 
right) of making known such their dutiful dispositions; and 


if we are wanting in the general suffrage, we hope the censure 
will fall on those only whose indiscretions are the cause of it." 
During the fight against the Stamp Act the Massachusetts 
Legislature issued a circular letter inviting all the colonies 
to send delegates to a congress to be held at New York to 
concert measures of resistance. Nine colonies responded. In 
North Carolina Governor Tryon refused to convene the As- 
sembly in time for the election of delegates, and North Caro- 
lina, together with New Hampshire, Virginia, and Georgia, 
was not represented. The sentiment in these colonies, how- 
ever, was in perfect harmony with the sentiment expressed 
by the Stamp Act Congress. From the struggle over the 
Stamp Act, therefore, was born a sentiment for a union of the 
colonies that contained the germs of nationality, and the devel- 
opment of this sentiment in the contests with the mother 
country from 1765 to 1775 gives to the events of that decade 
their chief significance. The Declaratory Act, which accom- 
panied the repeal of the Stamp Act, asserted the right of Par- 
liament to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." 
The Townshend Acts passed in June 1767, attempted to put 
this assertion into practice. Under a pretense of regulating 
commerce, Parliament levied duties on certain commodities, 
principally tea, imported into the colonies, and directed that 
the revenues derived therefrom be used to pay the salaries of 
colonial officials, thus rendering them independent of the 
colonial assemblies. This scheme gave a new impulse to the 
union sentiment. Massachusetts led the way with the famous 
circular letter of 1768 inviting the co-operation of the other 
colonies in concerting measures of resistance in order that 
their remonstrances and petitions to the king "should har- 
monize with each other." But unity of action on the part of 
the colonies was the last thing the king and ministry desired, 
and they saw in this letter nothing less than an effort "to pro- 
mote unwarrantable combinations and to excite and encourage 
an open opposition to and denial of the authority of Parlia- 
ment. ' ' Accordingly they commanded the Assembly of Massa- 
chusetts to rescind the letter and the assemblies of the other 
colonies to treat it with contempt on pains of "an immediate 
prorogation or dissolution." But Massachusetts refused to 
rescind, and the other colonies applauded her spirit and 
imitated her action. 

When the Assembly of North Carolina met, Speaker John 
Harvey laid the Massachusetts letter before the House. 
Greatly to the disgust of the more aggressive leaders, the 
House, though it did not treat it with the contempt which the 


king" required, declined to take any formal notice of it and 
contented itself with merely giving the speaker verbal direc- 
tions to answer it. It then resolved to send to the king "an 
humble, dutiful and loyal address," praying a repeal of the 
several acts of Parliament imposing duties on goods imported 
into America, appointed a committee consisting of John Har- 
vey, Joseph Montfort, Samuel Johnston, Joseph Hewes, and 
Edward Vail to prepare it, and instructed the colony's agent, 
Henry Eustace McCulloh, to present it. Thus the Assembly 
missed the real significance of the proposal of Massachusetts, 
viz., unity of action, and by its conduct, according to Lord 
Hillsborough, secretary of state for the colonies, gave "great 
satisfaction to the king. ' : Union was the great bugbear of the 
king and ministry ; they did not doubt of their ability to bring 
the colonies to terms if they could keep them from co-operat- 
ing with eacli other, and accordingly fought desperately 
against every step on the part of the Americans toward union. 
Samuel Johnston and Joseph Hewes were so disgusted at the 
"pusillanimity" of the Assembly that they declined to serve 
on the committee, but the other members, under the leadership 
of Harvev, acted more wiselv. They assumed that the As- 
sembly intended for them to act in concert with the committees 
of the other colonies, and thus improved on their verbal in- 
structions. Their action saved North Carolina from the odium 
which a failure to support the common cause would have 
brought upon the colony and paved the way for the more 
spirited co-operation of the future. 

The committee's address to the king was an able state paper 
and rang true to the American doctrine of "no taxation with- 
out representation.' 1 They reminded the king that in the past 
whenever it had been "found necessary to levy supplies within 
this Colony requisitions have been made by your Majesty or 
your Royal Predecessors and conformable to the rights of 
this people, and by them chearfully and liberally complied 
with," and while promising a like compliance in the future, 
maintained that "their Representatives in the Assembly alone 
can be the proper Judges, not only of what sums they are able 
to pay, but likewise of the most eligible method of collecting 
the same. Our Ancestors at their first settling, amidst the 
horrors of a long and bloody war with the Savages, which 
nothing could possibly render supportable but the prospects 
of enjoying here that freedom which Britons can never pur- 
chase at so [too] dear a rate, brought with them inherent in 
their persons, and transmitted down to their posterity, all the 
rights and liberties of your Majesty's natural born subjects 


within the parent State, and have ever since enjoyed as Britons 
the priviledges of an exemption from any Taxation bnt such as 
have been imposed on them by themselves or their Representa- 
tives, and this Priviledge we esteem so invaluable that we are 
fully convinced no other can possibly exist without it. It is 
therefore with the utmost anxiety and concern we observe 
duties have lately been imposed upon us by Parliament for 
the sole and express purpose of raising a Revenue. This is a 
Taxation which we are fully persuaded the acknowledged 
Principles of the British Constitution ought to protect us from. 
Free men cannot be legally taxed but by themselves or their 
Representatives, and that your Majesty's Subjects within this 
Province are represented in Parliament we cannot allow, and 
are convinced that from our situation we never can be." 
Along with this address went instructions to McCulloh of 
whom they required "a Spirited Co-operation with the xlgents 
of our Sister Colonies and Those who may be disposed to 
Serve us in Obtaining a Repeal of the Late Act Imposing In- 
ternal Taxes on Americans without Their Consent and the 
Which is Justly Dreaded by Them to be Nothing more than an 
Introduction to other acts of the same Injurious Tendency and 
fatal Consequences." In the same spirit of unity Harvey de- 
clared in his letter to the Massachusetts Assembly that the 
North Carolina Assembly will "ever be ready, firmly to unite 
with their sister colonies, in pursuing every constitutional 
measure for redress of the grievances so justly complained of. 
This House is desirous to cultivate the strictest harmony and 
friendship with the assemblies of the colonies in general, and 
with your House in particular. ' : "When this letter was received 
in Boston the Boston Evening Post triumphantly declared : 
"The colonies no longer disconnected, form one body; a com- 
mon sensation possesses the whole ; the circulation is complete, 
and the vital fluid returns from whence it was sent out.' 1 

As a warning to the other colonies the ministry selected 
Massachusetts for punishment. Persons suspected of encour- 
aging resistance to Parliament were to be arrested and sent 
to England for trial; town-meetings were to be suppressed; 
and two regiments were ordered to Boston to overawe that 
town. The blow was aimed at Massachusetts alone, but the 
other colonies promptly rallied to her support and raised the 
cry that Massachusetts was suffering in the common cause. 
Virginia acted first. Her Assembly denounced the govern- 
ment's action in a series of spirited resolutions, and sent them 
to the other assemblies ' ' requesting their concurrence therein. ' : 
In consequence they suffered dissolution, but the burgesses 


promptly met as a convention, agreed on a "Non-Importation 
Association," and circulated it throughout the colonies. 

On November 2, 1769, John Harvey laid the Virginia resolu- 
tions before the North Carolina Assembly. The House, with- 
out a dissenting voice, adopted them almost verbatim, agreed 
on a second protest to the king, and instructed their agent, 
after presenting it to have it printed in the British papers. 
Convinced that the king was deaf to their prayers, they now 
began to appeal to their British brethren. They again denied 
the right of Parliament to levy taxes in America, affirmed the 
right of the colonies to unite in protests to the throne, and 
denounced as "highly derogatory to the rights of British Sub- 
jects " the carrying of any American to England for trial, 
' ' as thereby the inestimable priviledge of being tried by a jury 
from the Vicinage, as well as the liberty of summoning and 
producing witnesses on such Tryal, will be taken away from 
the party accused." "We can not without horror," they de- 
clared, "think of the new, unusual, and permit us withall 
humbly to add, unconstitutional and illegal mode recommended 
to your Majesty of seizing and carrying beyond sea the Inhab- 
itants of America suspected of any crime, [and] of trying such 
person in any other manner than by the Ancient and long 
established course of proceeding." "Truly alarmed at the 
fatal tendency of these pernicious Councils," [sic], they earn- 
estly prayed the king to interpose his protection against "such 
dangerous invasions" of their dearest privileges. These pro- 
ceedings, when reported to the governor, sealed the fate of 
that Assembly. Sending in haste for the House, he censured 
them for their action, declared that it "sapped the foundations 
of confidence and gratitude," and made it his "indispensable 
duty to put an end to this Session." 

This sudden turn of affairs caught the Assembly unprepared 
for dissolution. Much important business, especially the adop- 
tion of the "Non-Importation Association," remained unfin- 
ished. Everybody realized that the effectiveness of non-im- 
portation as a weapon for fighting the Townshend duties 
depended entirely upon the extent to which it was adopted, 
and the fidelity with which it was observed. Any one colony 
therefore could easily defeat the whole scheme. When the 
North Carolina Assembly met in October, 1769, the association 
had been pretty generally adopted by the other colonies; con- 
sequently, the action of North Carolina was awaited with some 
concern. The leaders of the Assembly realized the situation 
fully, mid were by no means ready to go home until thev had 
taken the necessarv action to bring the colonv in line with the 


continental movement. Accordingly, immediately upon their 
dissolution, following the example of Virginia, they called the 
members together in convention to "take measures for pre- 
serving the true and essential interests of the province." 
Sixty-four of the seventy-seven members immediately repaired 
to the courthouse and re-organized as a convention independ- 
ent of the governor. John Harvey was unanimously chosen 
moderator. After discussing the situation fully through a 
session of two days, the convention came to a series of resolu- 
tions which of course affirmed "invincible attachment and un- 
shaken fidelity" to the king, but protested with great vigor 
against the acts of Parliament levying internal taxes in the 
colonies and depriving them of their constitutional right of 
trial by jury as having a "tendency to disturb the peace and 
good order of this government, which," the members boldly 
asserted, "we are willing, at the risque of our lives and for- 
tunes, to maintain and defend." The resolutions set forth a 
complete non-importation program. They pledged the sub- 
scribers to a course of economy, industry, and thrift; to "en- 
courage and promote the use of North American manufactures 
in general, and those of this province in particular;" neither 
to import themselves, nor to purchase from others, any goods, 
except paper, "which are or shall hereafter be taxed by act of 
Parliament for the purpose of raising a revenue in America ;" 
and to look upon "every subscriber who shall not strictly and 
literally adhere to his agreement, according to the true intent 
and meaning thereof, * with the utmost contempt." 

This association was signed by sixty-four of "the late repre- 
sentatives of the people being all that were then 
present," and by them recommended to their constituents in 
order to show their "readiness to join heartily with the other 
colonies in every legal method which may most probably tend 
to procure a redress" of grievances. 

When the policy of non-importation was tried in opposition 
to the Stamp Act it was not successful, and the Loyalists ridi- 
culed the attempt of Virginia to revive it as a weapon against 
the Townshend Acts. But a new element had now entered into 
the situation: the union sentiment had developed into a 
reality, and the opponents of the government, taking advan- 
tage of this fact, pushed the movement with vigor and suc- 
cess. Colony after colony joined the movement, and when 
North Carolina came in, the "Whig papers declared with great 
satisfaction: "This completes the chain of union throughout 
the continent for the measure of non-importation and econ- 
omy. ' ' 


But it was a simpler matter to adopt an association than to 
enforce it. The Tories, of course, opposed the whole scheme, 
and would gladly have welcomed an opportunity to defeat it. 
Their chance seemed to come when in April, 1770, Parliament 
repealed all the duties except the one on tea. The Tories hoped 
and the Whigs feared that this concession would break up the 
non-importation associations. While the former applauded 
the magnanimity of Parliament for yielding so much, the latter 
denounced the ministry for yielding no more, and regarding the 
partial repeal merely as a trap, redoubled their efforts to keep 
the association intact. 

In North Carolina the merchants of the Cape Fear were the 
largest importers of British goods, and everybody recognized 
that their action would determine the matter. No non-impor- 
tation association could be made effective without their co-op- 
eration. Fortunately, Cornelius Harnett, one of the chief 
merchants of the province, was also chairman of the Sons of 
Liberty, and his influence went far toward determining the 
course of the Cape Fear merchants. As soon as information 
of Parliament's action reached Wilmington, he called a meet- 
ing of the Sons of Liberty in the Wilmington District to take 
proper action. A large number of ' ' the principal inhabitants ' ' 
attended at Wilmington, June 2, and "unanimously agreed to 
keep strictly to the non-importation agreement," and to co- 
operate with the other colonies "in every legal measure for 
obtaining ample redress of the grievances so justly complained 
of. ' : In order to make their resolution more effective, they 
chose a committee to consult upon such measures as would 
best evince their "patriotism and loyalty" to the common 
cause, and "manifest their unanimity with the rest of the 
colonies." This committee was composed of thirty members 
representing all the Cape Fear counties and the towns of Wil- 
mington and Brunswick. Among its members were Cornelius 
Harnett, who was chosen chairman, James Moore, Samuel 
Ashe, Richard Quince, and Farquard Campbell, the most prom- 
inent merchants and planters of the Cape Fear section. They 
declared their intention to enforce strictly the non-importa- 
tion association; denounced the merchants of Rhode Island 
"who contrary to their solemn and voluntary contract, have 
violated their faith pledged to the other colonies, and thereby 
shamefully deserted the common cause of American liberty;" 
declared that they would have no dealings with any merchant 
who imported goods "contrary to the spirit and intention" of 
the non-importation association; and constituted themselves 
a special committee to inspect all goods brought into the Cape 


Fear and to keep the public informed of any that were im- 
ported in violation of the association. They then ordered 
their resolves to be "immediately transmitted to all the trad- 
ing towns in this colony;" and in the spirit of co-operation, 
Cornelius Harnett wrote to the Sons of Liberty of South Car- 
olina to inform them of their action. In this letter he said: 

"We beg leave to assure you that the inhabitants of those 
six counties and we doubt not of every county in this province, 
are convinced of the necessity of adhering to their former 
resolutions, and you may depend, they are tenacious of their 
just rights as any of their brethren on the continent and firmly 
resolved to stand or fall with them in support of the common 
cause of American liberty. Worthless men * * are the 

production of every country, and we are also unhappy as to 
have a few among us ' who have not virtue enough to resist the 
allurement of present gain.' Yet we can venture to assert, 
that the people in general of this colony, will be spirited and 
steady in support of their rights as English subjects, and will 
not tamely submit to the yoke of oppression. 'But if by the 
iron hand of power,' they are at last crushed; it is however 
their fixed resolution, either to fall with the same dignity and 
spirit you so justly mention, or transmit to their posterity 
entire, the inestimable blessings of our free Constitution. The 
disinterested and public spirited behaviour of the merchants 
and other inhabitants of your colony justly merits the applause 
of every lover of liberty on the continent. The people of any 
colony who have not virtue enough to follow so glorious 
examples must be lost to every sense of freedom and conse- 
quently deserve to be slaves." 

The interchange of such views and opinions among the sev- 
eral colonies greatly strengthened the union sentiment; while 
the practical operation of the non-importation associations 
revealed to both the Americans and the ministry the power 
that lay in a united America. 

Vol. 1—2 2 


Soon after his victory at Alamance, Tryon left North Caro- 
lina for New York. He was succeeded by Josiah Martin who 
took the oath of office August 12, 1771. Martin, as Saunders 
observes, was a man ill calculated to conduct an administration 
successfully even in ordinary times. Stubborn and tactless, 
obsequious to those in authority and overbearing to those 
under authority, he found himself suddenly placed in a posi- 
tion that required almost every quality of mind and character 
that he did not possess. He was, it is true, an honest man, but 
he was intolerant and knew nothing of the art of diplomacy. 
Sincerely devoted to the king, whom he thought it no degrada- 
tion to regard literally as a master, he had no faith in the 
sincerity of the Americans when in one breath they declared 
their loyalty to the Crown and in the next demanded from the 
Crown a recognition of their constitutional rights. "Insuffer- 
ably tedious and turgid, * his dispatches make the 
tired reader long for the Avell-constructed, clear-cut sentences 
and polished impertinences of Tryon," and show that he was 
utterly incapable of understanding the people whom he had 
been sent to govern. 1 No worse selection could have been made 
at that time ; the people of North Carolina were in no mood to 
brook the petty tyranny of a provincial governor, and Mar- 
tin's personality became one of the chief factors that drove 
North Carolina headlong into revolution and prepared the 
colony, first of all the colonies, to take a definite stand for inde- 

Their experience with the Stamp Act and the Townshend 
Acts taught the king and ministry the power that lay in a 
united America, and henceforth they avoided as far as possible 
such measures as would give the colonies a~common grievance 
upon which they could unite. Their change of policy embraced 

1 Saunders: Prefatory Notes to Colonial Records of North Caro- 
lina, Vol. IX, p. iv. 



two principles* both of which the Americans promptly re- 
pudiated. One was the principle of the Declaratory Act. The 
other was the assumption that the king's instructions to the 
provincial governors were of higher authority than acts of 
assemblies and were binding on both assemblies and governors 
alike. For the next three years these instructions "played 
an important part in American politics. * They came 

under the king's sign manual, with the privy seal annexed. It 
was said that officials could not refuse to execute them without 
giving up the rights of the Crown. A set was not framed to 
apply to all the colonies alike, but special instructions were 
sent to each colony as local circumstances dictated. Hence the 
patriots could not create a general issue on them." 2 The 
Americans at once perceived their danger, and were not to be 
caught by it; when they came a few years later to adopt a 
Declaration of Independence, this policy of the king was one 
of the "facts submitted to a candid world," in justification of 
their action. 

In North Carolina the battle was fought out on a very im- 
portant local measure involving the jurisdiction of the colo- 
nial courts, about which the king issued positive instructions 
directing the course which the Assembly should pursue. Thus 
a momentous issue was presented for the consideration of the 
people 's representatives : Should they permit the Assembly 
to degenerate into a mere machine whose highest function 
would be to register the will of the Sovereign ; or should they 
maintain it as the Constitution intended it to be, a free, deliber- 
ative, law-making body, responsible for its acts only to the 
people? Upon their answer to this question it is not too much 
to say hung the fate of their remotest posterity. It should be 
recorded as one of the chief events in our history that the 
Assembly had the insight to perceive the issue clearly and the 
courage to meet it boldly. "Appointed by the people [they 
declared] to watch over their rights and priviledges, and to 
guard them from every encroachment of a private and public 
nature, it becomes our duty and will be our constant endeavour 
to preserve them secure and inviolate to the present age, and 
to transmit them unimpaired to posterity. The 

rules of right and wrong, the limits of the prerogative of the 
Crown and of priviledges of the people are in the present age 
well known and ascertained; to exceed either of them is highly 

2 Frothingham : The Rise of the Republic of the United States, 
p. 252. 


The point at issue was the "foreign attachment clause" in 
the court law. British merchants who transacted business in 
the province through agents without ever being present in per- 
son, became in course of time extensive landowners here. The 
Tryon court law contained a clause empowering the colonial 
courts to attach this property for debts owed by such mer- 
chants to North Carolinians. The merchants objected to the 
clause, but the king refused to veto the act because by its own 
provision it was to expire at the end of five years and he ex- 
pected, when a new bill was framed, to have the clause omitted 
without interfering with the business of the courts. Accord- 
ingly he instructed Governor Martin not to approve any bill 
containing the attachment clause. 

The struggle began in the Assembly of January, 1773, and 
during that and the next two sessions was the occasion of one 
of the best conducted debates in the history of the colonial 
Assembly. Both sides maintained their positions with ability. 
The Council acting under instructions declined to pass the As- 
sembly's bill unless it was so amended as to provide that at- 
tachment proceedings should be "according to the laws and 
statutes of England." But the Assembly reminded the Coun- 
cil that in England such proceedings existed by municipal 
custom,* not by statute, and were "so essentially local" in their 
application "as not to admit of being extended by any analogy 
to this province. ' ' They contended that ' ' to secure a privilege 
so important the mode of obtaining it should be grounded in 
certainty, the law positive and express, and nothing left to the 
exercise of doubt or discretion." They therefore rejected the 
Council's amendment. After much debate a compromise was 
effected by the addition of a clause suspending the operation 
of the act until the king's pleasure could be learned. The 
Assembly thereupon sent it to their agent in London with in- 
structions to leave no stone unturned to secure the royal sig- 
nature. He was to say to the king that "so important does 
this matter appear to this Province that they cannot by any 
means think of giving it up, * * choosing rather the 

misfortune of a temporary deprivation of Laws than to form 
any system whereby they may be left without remedy on this 
great point." 

To this appeal the king replied by rejecting the bill and in- 
structing Governor Martin to create courts of oyer and ter- 
miner by the exercise of the "ever ready prerogative." In 
March, 1773, therefore, the governor appointed Richard Cas- 
well and Maurice Moore judges to sit with Chief Justice 
Martin Howard to hold these courts. Thus another element 


of discord was injected into the controversy, for when the 
Assembly met in December, the governor was compelled to in- 
form them of the "royal disallowance" of the court law, and 
at the same time to ask for money to meet the expenses of his 
prerogative courts. The Assembly's refusal was sharp and 
peremptory. They declared that while "one of the greatest 
calamities to which any political society can be liable," the 
suspension of the judicial powers of the government, had be- 
fallen the province, and no hope of redress through "the inter- 
position of Government" remained, "yet the misery of such 
a situation vanishes in competition with a mode of redress 
exercised by courts unconstitutionally framed : it is the blessed 
distinction of the British Code of Laws that our civil and 
criminal Jurisdiction have their foundation in the Laws of the 
Land, and are regulated by principles as fixt as the Constitu- 
tion. We humbly conceive that the power of issuing Commis- 
sions of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery, dele- 
gated by his Majesty to your Excellency, cannot be legally 
carried into execution without the aid of the Legislature of this 
Province, and that we cannot consistent with the Justice due 
to our Constituents make provisions for defraying the expense 
attending a measure which we do not approve. ' ' 

The governor and his Council protested, argued, pleaded, 
and threatened. The Council predicted that unless courts were 
speedily established the "Province must soon be deserted by 
its Inhabitants and an end put to its name and political exist- 
ence," and reproached the House for bringing the colony to 
this distressed situation "for the sake only of a Comparatively 
small advantage supposed to lie in a mode of proceeding by 
attachment, a proceeding unknown both to the Common and 
Statute Law of the Mother Country." This message drew fire 
from the House. The issue now involved much more than a 
mere legal procedure; the independence of the Assembly as a 
legislative body was at stake. "This House," retorted the 
Assembly, "ever faithful to the discharge of the important 
trust reposed in them by the Inhabitants of this Province have 
in the conduct of every Public Measure, had in 

view the interest and happiness of our constituents, as the 
grand object that ought to govern all our determinations. 
* * * Conscious from our late melancholy experience of 
the unhappy consequences that attend the extinguishment of 
the Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction in this Province, We dread 
the continuance of the calamity and submit still to suffer, only 
to avoid a greater misfortune. This House for 

themselves and their constituents heartily acknowledge the 


necessity for Court Laws, and without anticipating the horrors 
of the desertion of the Inhabitants of this Colony and the ex- 
tinguishment of its name and political existence, they experi- 
ence in the present unhappy State of this Province sufficient 
to induce them to wish a change upon legal constitutional 
principles. * * Were the attachment Law as formerly 

enjoyed by us as small an advantage, compared with that of 
having Court Laws as you contend it is, the right we possess to 
that is equal to the rights to a more important object; in the 
smallest, it [a surrender of the right] is bartering the rights 
of a people for a present convenience, in a greater it would be 
the same crime aggravated only by its circumstances. We 
observe with surprise that a doctrine maintained by a former 
House of Assembly is now adopted by you, and that you dis- 
close as your opinion that attachments are not known to the 
Common or Statute Law of England ; what then did Govern- 
ment tender to this people in lieu of their former mode, when 
it proffered to the last Assembly a mode of attachment agree- 
able to the laws of England?" 

Finding appeals to loyalty and threats of punishment equahV 
unavailing, and caught in his inconsistency, the governor de- 
termined to send the members home to consult their constit- 
uents, and accordingly sent his private secretary to command 
the House to attend him at the Palace. Knowing well enough 
what this meant, the House took a parting shot well calculated 
to ruffle his spirits. A committee was appointed to draw an 
address to the king, and was instructed "as the most effectual 
means to promote its success," to request Governor Try on, 
"who happily for this Country for many years presided over 
it, and of whose good intentions to its welfare we feel the 
fullest convictions," to forward it to his Majesty and support 
it "with his interest and influence." He was asked to "accept 
of this important Trust as testimony of the great affection this 
Colony bears him, and the' entire confidence they repose in 
him." The members of the committee to prepare this address 
were Harvey, Johnston, Howe, Ashe, Hooper, Hewes, Isaac 
Edwards and Harnett. After adopting this insulting resolu- 
tion as much to show their contempt for Martin as their regard 
for Tryon, the members of the House proceeded to the Palace 
where they were dismissed. The governor asked them to rep- 
resent the facts to the people fairly, saying, "I am fully per- 
suaded they know too well their own interests to make such a 
sacrifice [as the absence of courts entailed] , or to approve your 
conduct. That I may give you opportunity to learn their sen- 
timents, I now, * prorogue this Assembly. 

> > 


But it was useless for the governor to appeal from the As- 
sembly to the people ; it was but an appeal from the teachers 
to the taught. To send the former back to their constituents 
was but to send them to gather fresh endorsements and receive 
renewed support in their contest. When they returned in 
March, 1774, they told the governor that they had consulted 
the people, had stated to them candidly the point for which 
they contended, and had informed them how far the king was 
disposed to indulge their wishes. "These facts," they de- 
clared, "we have represented to them fairly, disdaining any 
equivocation or reserve that might leave them ignorant of the 
Conduct we have pursued or the real motives that influenced 
it. And we have the heartfelt satisfaction to inform your Ex- 
cellency that they have expressed their warmest approbation 
of our ..past proceedings, and have given us positive instruc- 
tions to persist in our endeavors to obtain the process of For- 
eign Attachments upon the most liberal and ample footing." 
To this message the governor replied in one of his few really 
good papers. He wrote with conflicting feelings for he was 
compelled to defend an instruction of his master with which 
he did not entirely sympathize. Passing by the "just exulta- 
tion" with which the Assembly told him of their constituents' 
approval of their course, he made an eloquent plea for com- 
promise. But the Assembly stood firm, passed the usual bill 
with the usual clause, and, declaring that they had pursued 
every measure to relieve the colony from its distressed condi- 
tion, sent it to the governor. The governor rejected it. This 
brought the struggle to an end for the only other Assembly 
that met in North Carolina under royal rule was in session but 
four stormy days and did not have time to consider the court 
law. North Carolina, therefore, remained without courts for 
the trial of civil causes until after independence was declared. 
Among the causes recited in the Declaration of Independence 
to justify that action, was the following: "He [the king] has 
obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent 
to laws for establishing judiciary powers." 

The situation in North Carolina was indeed serious. In 
March, 1773, Josiah Quincy, Jr., of Boston, traveling through 
the province, noted that but five provincial laws were in force, 
that no courts were open, that no one could recover a debt 
except for small sums within the jurisdiction of a magistrate's 
court, and that offenders escaped with impunity. "The 
people," he declared, "are in great consternation about the 


matter ; what will be the result is problematical. ' ' 3 Many were 
disposed to charge the whole trouble to the governor. They 
did not believe that he had "properly or judiciously explained 
to the government at home" the necessity for the protection 
they sought ; and they charged to his ' ' spirit of intolerance and 
impatience" the failure of the Assembly to pass a county 
court law, "the jurisdiction of which would have been so lim- 
ited that it could not possibly have operated to the disfavor of 
any British merchant," and the want of which subjected the 
people of the province to innumerable inconveniences. But 
there was no disposition on the part of the leaders of the pop- 
ular party to shirk their own responsibility. Fortunately they 
received loyal support from their constituents, who chose 
rather to bear all the inconveniences of the situation than to 
surrender the independence of their judiciary. The royal gov- 
ernment was thoroughly beaten because the people made 
anarchy tolerable. 

Throughout the colonies, the Whig leaders, as we may now 
call them, saw through the policy of the king in trying to avoid 
a general issue, and held many an anxious conference to devise 
a working plan for united action. One of the most important, 
as it was one of the most interesting of these conferences, was 
held between Josiah Quincy, Jr., of Massachusetts, and Robert 
Howe and Cornelius Harnett, of North Carolina, at the home 
of the latter on the Cape Fear. Quincy arrived at Brunswick, 
March 26, and spent the next five days enjoying the hospitality 
of the Cape Fear patriots. He found William Hill "warmly 
attached to the cause of American freedom;" William Dry 
"seemingly warm against the measures of British and conti- 
nental administration;' 1 William Hooper "apparently in the 
Whig interest." The night of March 30th he spent at the 
home of Cornelius Harnett. Here all doubt of his host's poli- 
tical sentiments vanished. ' ' Spent the night, ' ' he records, ' ' 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 con- 
tinental correspondence highly relished, much wished for, and 
resolved upon as proper to be pursued." 4 

The "plan of continental correspondence" was, of course, 
original with neither Quincy nor Harnett. Samuel Adams had 
already put a system of provincial correspondence into opera- 

? ' Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Jr.. p. 117 et seq. 
4 Memoir, p. 120. 


tion in Massachusetts; and a few clays before Quincy arrived 
in North Carolina, but too late for the news to have reached 
Wilmington, the Virginia Assembly had issued a circular letter 
proposing to the other assemblies the organization of a sys- 
tem of inter-colonial committees to carry on a ''continental 
correspondence. ' : During the summer several of the colonies 
adopted the plan. The decision of North Carolina had been 
practically settled at Wilmington in March, but as the As- 
sembly was not to meet until December, no official action was 
taken until then. On the second day of the session, John Har- 
vey, the speaker, laid the Virginia resolutions, together with 
the resolutions and endorsements of Massachusetts, Rhode Is- 
land, Connecticut and Delaware, before the House ; and Howe, 
Harnett and Johnston were appointed a committee to draw an 
answer which they were to report to the House. In their re- 
port they recommended hearty concurrence in the "spirited 
resolves" of the Virginia Assembly, particularly "in the meas- 
ure proposed for appointing Corresponding Committees in 
every Colony, by which such Harmony and communication 
will be established among them, that they will at all times be 
ready to exert their united efforts * to preserve their 

just rights and Liberties * which appear of late to 

be so systematically invaded;" and they nominated as a 
Standing Committee of Correspondence and Enquiry" for 
North Carolina John Harvey, Robert Howe, Cornelius Har- 
nett, William Hooper, Richard Caswell, Edward Vail, John 
Ashe, Joseph Hewes, and Samuel Johnston. It was to be the 
particular business of this committee "to obtain the most 
early and authentic intelligence of all such Acts and resolu- 
tions of the British Parliament, or proceedings of Administra- 
tion as may relate to or effect the British Colonies in America 
and to keep up and maintain a correspondence and communi- 
cation with our Sister Colonies respecting these important 
considerations," and to report their proceedings to the As- 
sembly. The work of this committee bore good fruit, for the 
members brought to their task a truly national spirit in deal- 
ing with continental affairs. To use a modern political term, 
they adopted a platform in which they declared that the inhab- 
itants of North Carolina "ought to consider themselves inter- 
ested in the cause of the town of Boston as the cause of Amer- 
ica in general;" that they would "concur with and co-operate 
in such measures as may be concerted and agreed on by their 
Sister Colonies" for resisting the measures of the British min- 
istry, and that in order to promote "conformity and unanimitv 
in the Councils of America," a Continental Congress was "ab- 


soJutelv necessary.' 1 ' The significance of this system of com- 
mittees was soon apparent. Indeed, as John Fiske declares, 
it ' ' was nothing less than the beginning of the American union. 
It only remained for the various inter-colonial com- 
mittees to assemble together, and there would be a congress 
speaking in the name of the continent." "' 

In the meantime came the Boston Tea Party, followed 
promptly by the four "intolerable acts" which closed the port 
of Boston, annulled the charter of Massachusetts, authorized 
the transportation beyond sea for trial of persons accused of 
crime, and legalized the quartering of troops on the people of 
Massachusetts. These acts aroused the whole continent and 
led to the call for a Continental Congress. The suggestion for 
such a congress found instant favor. It was intended, follow- 
ing the precedent established with the Stamp Act Congress, 
that the delegates should be chosen by the assemblies. When 
Governor Martin learned of these plans, he determined to pre- 
vent North Carolina's being represented by refusing to con- 
vene the Assembly until too late for them to elect delegates. 
Tryon had successfully adopted this expedient to prevent the 
election of delegates to the Stamp Act Congress, but Martin 
lacked a good deal of having Tryon 's tact and political shrewd- 
ness, nor did he enjoy the personal popularity which had en- 
abled Tryon to meet successfully many delicate situations. Be- 
sides the popular party was now organized for resistance and 
its leaders were not the kind of men to be caught twice in the 
same trap. Accordingly when Martin's private secretary 
communicated the governor's determination to Speaker Har- 
vey, Harvey flew into a rage, exclaiming, "In that case the 
people will hold a convention independent of the governor!" 
On April 5, 1 774, Samuel Johnston wrote to William Hoop- 
er : " Colonel Harvey and myself lodged last night with Colonel 
[Edward] Buncombe, and as we sat up very late the conver- 
sation turned on Continental and provincial affairs. Colonel 
Harvey said during the night, that Mr. Biggleston told him, 
that the Governor did not intend to convene another Assembly 
until he saw some chance of a better one than the last ; and 
that he told the Secretary that then the people would convene 
one themselves. He was in a very violent mood, and declared 
he was for assembling a convention independent of the Gov- 
ernor, and urged upon us to co-operate with him. He says he 
will lead the way, and will issue handbills under his own name, 
and that the committee of correspondence ought to go to work 

5 The American Revolution, Vol. I, p. 81. 


at once. As for my own part, I do not know what better can 
be done. Without Courts to sustain the property and to ex- 
ercise the talents of the Country, and the people alarmed and 
dissatisfied, we must do something to save ourselves. Colonel 
Harvey said he had mentioned the matter only to Willie Jones 
of Halifax, whom he had met the day before, and that he 
thought well of it, and promised to exert himself in its favor. 
I beg your friendly counsel and advice on the subject, and hope 
you will speak of it to Mr. Harnett and Colonel Ashe, or any 
other such men." 

Harvey's bold and revolutionary proposition fell upon will- 
ing ears. The popular leaders gave it their united support. 
The Committee of Correspondence declared that if the gover- 
nor carried out his determination they would "endeavor in 
some other manner to collect the Representatives of the 
people." Maturer consideration, however, led to the conclu- 
sion that the call for such a convention had better come from 
the people themselves. Accordingly the movement was 
launched at Wilmington, July 21, by a great mass meeting 
attended by men from all the Cape Pear counties. William 
Hooper was called to the chair. The meeting declared it 
"highly expedient" that a provincial congress independent of 
the governor be held and invited the several counties of the 
province to send delegates to it. This call met with a prompt 
and cordial response. Rowan, Craven, Pitt, Johnston, Gran- 
ville, Anson, and Chowan counties led the way. In those coun- 
ties popular meetings were promptly held, patriotic resolu- 
tions adopted, and delegates elected to the proposed congress. 
Through all these resolutions ran the spirit of liberty and 
union. The Wilmington meeting favored action "in concert 
with the other Colonies." Anson County thought that North 
Carolina ought to act "in union with the rest of the Colonies." 
Rowan County struck the highest note in a resolution declar- 
ing it to be " the Duty and Interest of all the American Colo- 
nies, firmly to unite in an indissoluble Union and Association." 
All the meetings endorsed the proposed Continental Congress. 
Thirty-six counties and towns joined in the movement by 
choosing delegates to meet in a provincial congress at New 
Bern, August 25, 1774. 

These proceedings produced consternation at the Gover- 
nor's Palace. Hastily calling his Council in session, the gov- 
ernor represented the situation to them as exceedingly grave 
and likely "to draw His Majesty's displeasure on this Prov- 
ince," and sought advice as to "the measures most proper to 
be taken, to discourage or prevent these Assemblies of the 


People." The Council after taking a whole day "maturely to 
consider the Subject," could think of nothing better than a 
nroclamation which the governor gravely issued, August 13th. 
He not only directed that the people should hold no further 
county meetings, but "more particularly that they do forbear 
to attend, and do prevent as far in them lies, the meeting of 
certain Deputies, said to be appointed to be held at New Bern 
on the 25th Instant." One of Josiah Martin's most glaring 
faults as a ruler was his utter lack of a sense of humor; he 
took his resounding proclamation in dead earnest and was 
greatly perturbed to find that nobody else shared this view 
with him. On August 25th, he again called his Council to- 
gether, notified them that many of the delegates had come to 
New Bern for the Congress, and asked their advice whether 
he could take "any further measures" to prevent their meet- 
ing; and was gravely informed that it was the Council's 
"unanimous opinion that no other steps could be properly 
taken at this juncture." 

When the Congress met on August 25th, seventy-one dele- 
gates answered the roll call. Among its members were John 
Campbell, John Ashe, and Eichard Caswell, former speakers 
of the Assembly; William Hooper and Joseph Hewes, soon 
to become immortalized as signers of the Declaration of In- 
dependence; Samuel Johnston and Abner Nash who, like 
Caswell, were destined to become governors of North Caro- 
lina ; but on none of these eminent men did the Congress 
fix its choice when it came to select its presiding officer. The 
thoughts of all centered at once upon one man, John Harvey, 
father of the Congress, who was its unanimous choice as 

The man thus called to preside over the most revolutionary 
body that ever met in North Carolina, had been for a decade 
the undisputed leader of the popular party in the province. 
Then in his fiftieth year, he had been in public life ever since 
reaching his majority. In 1746 he entered the Assembly as a 
representative from Perquimans County, just in time to be- 
come involved in the representation controversy that marked 
the closing years of Governor Johnston's administration. 
Sympathizing fully with the views of the northern counties, 
he refused during the next eight years to sit in an Assembly 
which he believed to be unconstitutionally organized ; but when 
the controversy was ended and the victory won, he again ap- 
peared in his seat which he continuously occupied during the 
remaining twenty-one years of his life. Out of his first ex- 
perience in public life, Harvey brought an intense hostility 


to government by prerogative that made him during the rest 
of his career the colony's most aggressive champion of con- 
stitutional representative government. He held that the 
charter upon which the colonial government was founded 
was a compact between sovereign and people which neither 
could rightfully violate. He insisted that no number less 
than a majority could legally be counted a quorum of the 
Assembly because it had been so fixed by the charter. He 
upheld the dignity of the Assembly as a law-making body 
and utterly repudiated the doctrine that its highest function 
was to register the will of the Crown. He maintained that 
no power on earth could constitutionally levy taxes on the 
people of North Carolina except their representatives in the 
General Assembly and rejected the theory that they were 
represented in the British Parliament. The sincerity of his 
convictions, the fearlessness and ability with which he main- 
tained them, gradually won for him the foremost place in the 
councils of his party and led to his election in 1765 to the 
speakership of the Assembly. That place of leadership he 
held, except for one Assembly which ill health prevented his 
attending, until his death in 1775. During that decade he 
was the acknowledged leader of that remarkable group of 
North Carolina statesmen who prevented the triumph of the 
ministerial policy in North Carolina, swung the colony into 
line with the other colonies in the continental movement 
toward union, reduced the royal government to impotency, 
organized a provincial government independent of the Crown, 
inaugurated the Revolution and led the way to independence. 
Throughout these great movements, Harvey's leadership was 
characterized by clearness of vision that appealed to men's 
judgment, firmness of purpose that inspired their confidence, 
and boldness of action that stirred their imagination and 
aroused their enthusiasm. Such were the qualities that led 
his associates in one of the ablest assemblages in our history 
to make him their unanimous choice for their presiding of- 

The Congress remained in session but three days. In a 
series of spirited and clear-cut resolutions it gave expression 
to the American views on the questions in dispute witli the 
mother country; denounced the several acts aimed at Massa- 
chusetts and Boston ; declared that the people of Massachusetts 
had "distinguished themselves in a manly support of the rights 
of America in general"; endorsed the proposal for a Con- 
tinental Congress to which it elected William Hooper, Joseph 
Hewes, and Richard Caswell delegates; pledged the honor of 


the province in support of whatever measures the Continental 
Congress might recommend to the colonies; adopted a non- 
importation agreement and provided for its execution. John 
Harvey was authorized to call another Congress whenever 
he deemed it necessary. 

No more significant step had ever been taken in North 
Carolina than the successful meeting of this Congress. It 
revealed the people to themselves. Said the freeholders of 
Pitt County: "As the Constitutional Assembly of this Colony 
are prevented from exercising their right of providing for the 
security of the liberties of the people, that right again reverts 
to the people as the foundation from whence all power and 
legislation flow." The Congress was a practical demonstra- 
tion of how the people might exercise this right. They began 
to understand that there was no peculiar power in the writs 
and proclamations of a royal governor. They themselves 
could elect delegates and organize legislatures without the in- 
tervention of the king's authority, and this was a long step 
toward independence. 

This Congress and every county meeting held in North 
Carolina in the summer of 1774, had re-echoed the cry, then 
ringing throughout America, that Boston was suffering in 
the common cause, and the people of North Carolina by their 
generous contributions to the stricken city showed that it 
was no mere rhetorical expression. From the counties along 
the coast, and even from as far in the back country as Anson 
County, provisions poured into New Bern, Wilmington, and 
Edenton to be shipped free of all freight and other charges 
to the suffering poor of the New England metropolis. At their 
meeting on August 18, 1774, the freeholders of Anson County 
appointed a committee "to open and promote a subscription 
for contributing toward the relief of those indigent Inhabitants 
of the Town of Boston" whom the Boston Port Bill had "de- 
prived of the means of subsisting themselves." Pitt County 
followed the example and loaded a ship with supplies for the 
relief of "the poor of Boston. ' : From Craven also sailed a 
vessel bound for Salem with a cargo of corn, peas and pork 
"for the relief of the distressed inhabitants of Boston." At 
Wilmington a subscription was opened "for the Relief of the 
poor Artizans and Labourers" of Boston, and the committee 
in charge was able to declare with just pride, "we have 
reason to congratulate ourselves upon the generous contribu- 
tions of the Inhabitants which has put it in our power* to 
load a vessel with provisions which will sail this week for 
the port of Salem. ' : From Edenton, too, sailed in September, 


P774, the sloop Penelope carrying a cargo of 2,096 bushels of 
corn, 22 barrels of flour, and 17 barrels of pork, which John 
Harvey and Joseph Hewes had collected from "the inhabi- 
tants of two or three counties in the neighborhood of Eden- 
ton." "I hope to be able to send another cargo this winter, 
for the same charitable purpose," wrote Harvey to the Massa- 
chusetts Committee of Correspondence, "as the American in- 
habitants of this colony entertain a just sense of the suffering 
of our brethren in Boston, and have yet hopes that when the 
united determinations of the continent reach the royal ear, 
they will have redress from the cruel, unjust, illegal and op- 
pressive late acts of the British Parliament," 

Foiled in his purpose to hold North Carolina aloof from 
the Continental Congress, Governor Martin determined to 
make the best of a bad situation and summoned the Assembly 
to meet him at New Bern, April 4, 1775. John Harvey imme- 
diately called a congress to meet at the same place on April 
3d. It was a wise precaution, for the Assembly sat only at 
the pleasure of the governor who would certainly dissolve 
it at the first manifestation of disloyalty. The leaders of the 
popular party intended that the same individuals should com- 
pose both bodies and with few exceptions this plan was care- 
fully carried into execution. Martin was furious and de- 
nounced Harvey's action in two resounding proclamations. 
The Congress replied by electing Harvey moderator, the As- 
sembly by electing him speaker. The governor roundly scored 
both bodies, and both bodies roundly scored the governor. 
It was indeed a pretty situation. One set of men composed 
two assemblies — one constitutional, sitting by authority of the 
royal governor, and in obedience of his writ ; the other extra- 
constitutional, sitting in defiance of his authority, and in 
direct disobedience of his command. The governor impo- 
tently demanded that the Assembly- join him in denouncing 
and dispersing the Congress, composed largely of the same 
men whose aid he solicited. The two bodies met in the same 
hall, the Congress at 9 o'clock A. M., the Assembly at 10, and 
were presided over by the same man. "When the governor's 
private secretary was announced at the door, in an instant, 
in the twinkling of an eye, Mr. Moderator Harvey 
would become Mr. Speaker Harvey and gravely 

receive his Excellency's message." 

Neither body accomplished much. The Congress declared 

6 Saunders: Prefatory Xote^ to Colonial Records of North Caro- 
lina, Vol. IX, p. xxxiv. 


the right of the people themselves, or through their repre- 
sentatives, to assemble and petition the throne for redress of 
grievances, and concluded, therefore, that "the Governor's 
Proclamation issued to forbid this meeting, and his Proclama- 
tion afterwards, commanding this meeting to disperse, are 
illegal and an infringement of our just rights, and therefore 
ought to be disregarded as wanton and Arbitrary Exertions 
of power." The Continental Association adopted by the Con- 
tinental Congress was approved, signed, and recommended 
to the people of the province ; Hooper, Hewes, and Caswell 
were thanked for their services in the Continental Congress 
and re-elected; and John Harvey, or in the event of his death 
Samuel Johnston, was authorized to call another congress 
whenever he considered it necessary. 

The Assembly had time only to organize and exchange 
messages with the governor when it, too, came to an end. 
Its first offense was the election of Harvey as speaker. His 
election was a bitter pill to the governor and he winced at 
having to take it, but held his peace. He wrote to Lord 
Dartmouth, secretary of state for the colonies, that he had 
hoped the Assembly after hearing what he had to say would 
secede from the Congress, although he knew many of its mem- 
bers were also members of the Congress, "and this hope," 
he added, "together with my desire to lav no difficultv in 
the way of the public business, induced me on the next day 
to admit the election of Mr. Harvey, who was chosen speaker 
of the Assembly, and presented by the House for ray approba- 
tion. Indeed to say the truth, my Lord, it was a measure to 
which I submitted upon these principles not without repug- 
nance even after I found the Council unanimously of opinion 
that it would not be expedient to give a new handle of dis- 
content to the Assembly by rejecting its choice if it should 
fall as was expected upon Mr. Harvey, for I considered his 
guilt of too conspicuous a nature to be passed over with neg- 
lect. The manner however of my admitting him I believe 
sufficiently testified my disapprobation of his conduct while 
it marked my respect to the election of the House." The fol- 
lowing day the Assembly again offended by inviting the dele- 
gates to the Congress who were not also members of the As- 
sembly to join in the latter 's deliberations. The governor 
promptly issued his proclamation forbidding this unhallowed 
union, which was read to the Assemblv bv the sheriff of 
Craven County. "Well, you have read it," exclaimed James 
Coor, member from Craven, "and now you can take it back- 
to the governor": and except for this contemptuous exclama- 


lion no notice was taken of it. "Not a man obeyed it," wrote 
Martin, who thus far had succeeded in keeping his temper ad- 
mirably. But on the fourth day of the session the Assembly 
adopted resolutions approving the Continental Association, 
thanking the delegates to the Continental Congress for their 
services, and endorsing their re-election. This was more 
than Martin had bargained for; his wrath boiled over, and 
on April 8, 1774, he issued his proclamation putting an end 
to the last Assembly that ever met in North Carolina at the 
call of a royal governor. 

In a letter to Lord Dartmouth describing these events, 
Martin wrote: "I am bound in conscience and duty to add, 
My Lord, that Government is here as absolutely prostrate as 
impotent, and that nothing but the shadow of it is left. 
I must further say, too, my Lord, that it is my 
serious opinion which I communicate with the last degree of 
concern that unless effectual measures such as British Spirit 
may dictate are speedily taken there will not long remain a 
trace of Britain's dominion over these Colonies." Before 
this dispatch had found its way to its pigeon hole in the 
Colonial Office, Martin was a fugitive from the Governor's 
Palace seeking protection from the guns of Fort Johnston, 
revolutionary conventions and committees were in full control 
throughout the province, in every community companies of 
rebels were organizing, arming, and drilling for war, and 
British rule was at an end forever in North Carolina. 

Vol. 1—23 



In order to provide an executive authority to enforce its 
policy, the Provincial Congress of August, 1774, recommended 
that "a committee of five persons be chosen in each county" 
for that purpose. The Continental Congress in October recom- 
mended a similar system throughout the thirteen colonies. In 
North Carolina the plan as finally worked out contemplated 
one committee in each of the towns, one in each of the counties, 
one in each of the six military districts, and one for the prov- 
ince at large. In all our history there has been nothing else 
like these committees. Born of necessity, originating in the 
political and economic confusion of the time, they touched 
the lives of the people in their most intimate affairs, and grad- 
ually extended their jurisdiction until they assumed to them- 
selves all the functions of government. They enforced with 
v T igor the resolves of the Continental and Provincial Con- 
gresses, some of which were most exacting in their demands 
and burdensome in their effects. They conducted inquiries into 
the actions and opinions of individuals, and not only "deter- 
mine 1 what act& and opinions constituted a man an enemy of 
his country, but passed upon his guilt or innocence, and fixed 
his punishment." They raised money by voluntary subscrip- 
tions, fines and assessments for the purchase of gunpowder, 
arms, and all the other implements of war. The militia had 
to be enlisted, organized, equipped and drilled. In short, a 
revolution had to be inaugurated and it fell to these committees 
to do it. "Usurping some new authority every day, executive, 
judicial or legislative, as the case might be, their powers soon 
became practically unlimited." Governor Martin character- 
ized them as "extraordinary tribunals." In every respect 
they were extraordinary, insurrectionary, revolutionary. Ille- 
gally constituted, they assumed such authority as would not 
have been tolerated in the roval government and received such 
obedience as the king with all his armies could not have exacted. 
Yet not only did they not abuse their power, they voluntarily 



resigned it when the public welfare no longer needed their 
services. They were the offspring of misrule and rose and fell 
with their parent. 

Records are extant, in some cases complete, in others very 
meager, of the organization of committees in eighteen counties 
and four towns. Especially active and effective were the com- 
mittees of New Hanover, Rowan, Tryon, Pitt, Craven and 
Surry counties. The people were thoroughly alive to the 
importance of the step they took in organizing these com- 
mittees. The men whom they selected represented the wealth, 
the intelligence, and the culture of their communities. Some 
of them achieved eminence in the history of North Carolina. 
The chairman of the Wilmington-New Hanover committee 
was Cornelius Harnett. Among his colleagues was William 
Hooper. Joseph Hewes, like Hooper, a signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, was a member of the Edenton com- 
mittee. The dominant spirit of the Halifax committee was 
Willie Jones, for many years the most distinguished of the 
radical leaders in the colony. Among the members of the 
Craven committee was Abner Nash, afterwards governor. 
Robert How T e, afterwards a major-general in Washington's 
army, served on the Brunswick committee. Benjamin Cleave- 
land, famous as one of the " heroes of King's Moun- 
tain," was chairman of the Surry committee. Many others 
scarcely less distinguished served on these "extraordi- 
nary tribunals.' 1 They were men of approved character and 
ability. Entrusted with despotic power, they fulfilled their 
trust with fidelity, exercising tyranny over individuals that 
they might preserve the liberty of the community. They uni- 
formly discharged their duties with firmness and patience, with 
prudence and wisdom, and in the interest of the public welfare. 

The policy of both the Continental Congress and the 
Provincial Congress aimed to promote economy and industry, 
to encourage and stimulate manufactures, to discourage ex- 
travagance and luxury, and to enforce the non-importation and 
non-exportation associations. Upon the committees of safety 
fell the task of making this policy effective. It was neither an 
easy nor an agreeable task, for some features of the policy- 
were extremely irritating in their operations and at times pro- 
duced restlessness among the people. It required as much tact 
as determination for the committees to execute their orders 
with vigor without at the same time losing the support of their 
constituents. In this double task they met with a remarkable 
degree of success. "Agreeable to the Resolves of the Conti- 
nental Congress," Surry County undertook to "suppress all 


Immorality and Vice, and all kinds of sporting, Gaming, Bet- 
ting or Wagering whatsoever.' 1 Although the New Hanover 
committee strictly enforced the resolves against "expensive 
diversions and entertainments," forbidding horse-races, bil- 
liards, dancing and other amusements, the people submitted 
without complaint. ' ' Nothing, ' ' declared the committee, "will 
so effectually tend to convince the British Parliament that 
we are in earnest in our opposition to their measures, as a 
voluntary relinquishment of our favorite amusements. 
Many will cheerfully part with part of their prop- 
erty to secure the remainder. He only is the determined 
patriot who willingly sacrifices his pleasures on the altar of 
freedom. ' : An interesting experiment was initiated by the 
committee of Chowan County which undertook to raise a fund 
to be used "for the encouragement of Manufactures," secur- 
ing £80 sterling "for that laudable purpose." Premiums 
were accordingly offered for the first output in the province 
within eighteen months of 500 pairs of wool cards and a like 
number of cotton cards and for the first 2,000 pounds of steel 
"fit for edged tools," all of which the committee obligated it- 
self to purchase at a good profit. These premiums, said the 
committee, were "too inconsiderable" in themselves to induce 
any person to establish such manufactories but it offered them 
in the hope that other counties, "stimulated by the same laud- 
able motives to promote industry," would increase them by 
offering similar rewards. Many of the committees found it 
necessary to take a determined stand to prevent profiteering 
in such essential articles as salt, steel, and gunpowder, not 
only by fixing prices, but also by seizing for public use such 
supplies as were found within their jurisdictions. 

One of the most important phases of the work of the com- 
mittees of safety was the enforcement of the Non-Importation 
Association. Large quantities of goods were imported in vio- 
lation either of the spirit or of the letter of the prohibition — 
some by merchants who had ordered them before the pro- 
hibition became effective, some were brought in only in tech- 
nical violation of the resolve, while others were imported 
by disloyal merchants purposely to test the determination of 
the patriots. All alike was seized and sold at public auction 
for the benefit of the public fund. "The safety of the people 
is, or ought to be, the supreme law," wrote a Wilmington 
merchant whose goods were thus seized; "the gentlemen of 
the committee will judge whether this law, or any act of Par- 
liament, should, at this particular time, operate in North Caro- 
lina." Some Cape Fear planters who thought upon one pre- 


text or another to get around the resolve forbidding the im- 
portation of slaves, were promptly summoned lief ore the New 
Hanover committee to "give a particular account" of their 
conduct, and as promptly required to re-ship their negroes 
out of the province by the first opportunity. When Parlia- 
ment, in an effort to break up the Continental Associa- 
tion, passed an act "to restrain the trade and commerce ' ; 
of certain colonies, from which North Carolina and some 
others were exempted, the Wilmington-New Hanover joint- 
committees at a largely attended meeting "resolved, unani- 
mously, that the exception of this colony, and some others, 
out of the said act, is a mean and base artifice, to seduce them 
into a desertion of the common cause of America"; and there- 
fore determined "that we will not accept of the advantages 
insidiously thrown out by the said act, but will strictly adhere 
to such plans as have been, and shall be, entered into by the 
Honorable Continental Congress, so as to keep up a perfect 
unanimity with our sister colonies." 

In their work the committees met with just enough opposi- 
tion to enable them to make a display of firmness and energy. 
Neither wealth nor position could purchase immunity from 
their inquisition, neither poverty nor obscurity was accepted 
as an excuse for disobedience. Social and commercial ostra- 
cism was the favorite weapon, and few there were with spirit 
and courage determined enough to withstand it. Andrew Mil- 
ler, a prominent merchant of Halifax, refusing to sign the As- 
sociation, the committee though composed of his neighbors and 
former friends resolved to have "no commerce or dealing" 
with him and to "recommend it to the people of this County 
in particular and to all who wish well of their Country to 
adopt the same measure." Governor Martin cited this inci- 
dent to the ministry as evidence "of the spirit of these ex- 
traordinary Tribunals." Three merchants of Edenton, who 
had imported goods contrary to the Association, were sum- 
moned before the Chowan County committee, required pub- 
licly to acknowledge their fault and to promise obedience in 
the future. Craven County committee ordered that all per- 
sons who refused to sign the Association be disarmed. The 
sanctity of the church itself failed to serve as a cloak to cover 
disaffection and disloyalty. Eev. James Reed, missionary of 
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and rector at 
New Bern, refusing to conduct service on the Fast Day set 
apart by the Continental Congress, the Craven committee se- 
verely censured him for "deserting his congregation," and 
requested the vestry to suspend him "from his ministerial 


function"; while the Rowan County committee compelled a 
Baptist preacher named Cook who had signed a "protest 
against the cause of Liberty," to appear and express 
his regret "in the most explicit and humiliating Terms." 
When the Wilmington committee submitted to the peo- 
ple of Wilmington a test pledging the signers to "ob- 
serve strictly" the Continental Association, eleven of the 
most prominent men in the community refused to sign. 
They were promptly ostracized as "unworthy the rights 
of freemen and as inimical to the liberties of their 
country"; and held up before the public that they might be 
"treated with the contempt they deserve." There were no 
braver men than some of those thus cut off from their fellows, 
but they could not stand out against the open scorn of their 
neighbors; within less than a week eight of their number 
gave way and subscribed the test. The committee justified 
their course as being "a cement of allegiance" to the Crown 
and as "having a tendency to promote a constitutional at- 
tachment for the mother country." 

But in May, 1775, the last bond of such allegiance was 
snapped, and the last sentiment of such attachment destroyed, 
by news that came from Massachusetts. American blood had 
been shed at Lexington and through the colonies expresses 
rode day and night, carrying the news of the battle, of the 
rising of the minute-men, and of the retreat from Con- 
cord. In no other way did the committees of safety give a 
better illustration of their usefulness than in the transmis- 
sion of this news. From colony to colony, from town to 
town, from committee to committee, they hurried it along. 
New York received the dispatches at midday, New Brunswick 
at midnight. They aroused Princeton at 3 o'clock in the 
morning. Trenton read them at daybreak, Philadelphia at 
noon. They reached Baltimore at bed-time, Alexandria at 
the breakfast hour. Three days and nights the express rode 
on, down the Potomac, across the Rappahannock, the York 
and the James, through scenes since made famous, and on 
to Edenton. TCdenton received the dispatches at 9 a. m., 
May 4th, and hurried them on to Bath with the injunction 
to "disperse the material passages through all your parts." 
Bath hastened them on to New Bern with a message to send 
them forward "with the utmost dispatch." "Send them 
on as soon as possible to the Wilmington Committee," di- 
rected New Bern to Onslow. "Disperse them to your adjoin- 
ing counties," echoed Onslow to Wilmington. At 3 o'clock 
P. M., May 8th, the messenger delivered his dispatches to 


Cornelius Harnett, chairman of the Wilmington committee. 
Delaying just long enough to make copies, Harnett urged 
him on to Brunswick. "If you should be at a loss for a 
man and horse," he wrote to the Brunswick committee, "the 
bearer will proceed as far as the Boundary House. You will 
please direct Mr. Marion or any other gentleman to forward 
the packet immediately to the Southward with the greatest 
possible dispatch. * For God's sake send the man 

on without the least delay and write to Mr. Marion to for- 
ward it by night and day." Brunswick received the papers 
six hours later and although it was then "9 o'clock in the 
evening" the chairman of the committee urged the bearer on- 
ward to Isaac Marion at Boundary House to whom he wrote : 
"I must entreat vou to forward them to your communitv [com- 
mittee] at Georgetown to be conveyed to Charlestown from 
yours with all speed." Thus the news was sped to the south- 
ward, inspiring the forward, stirring the backward, and arous- 
ing the continent. The committees made the most of their op- 
portunity. Governor Martin complained that the rebcd lead- 
ers received the news more than a month before he did, and 
that he received it "too late to operate against the infamous 
and false reports of that transaction which were circulated 
to this distance from Boston in the space of 12 or 13 days. ' ; 
The first impression took "deep root in the minds of the vul- 
gar here universally and wrought a great change in the face 
of things, confirming the seditious in their evil purposes, and 
bringing over vast numbers of the fickle, wavering and un- 
steady multitude to their party." 

The battle of Lexington was the beginning of war. For 
this result the patriots of North Carolina were not wholly 
unprepared, for the committees had made efforts to be ready 
for "the worst contingencies." The Rowan committee seized 
all the gunpowder in Salisbury. Tryon County raised money 
to purchase powder for the public use. Surry ordered that 
if any members of the committee "should find out any Am- 
munition in this county they shall be justifiable in securing 
the same for the Public Service." Other committees were 
no less active in this essential work. The most effective work 
was done by the Wilmington-New Hanover committees which 
foresaw that the first armed conflict in North Carolina would 
probably come on the Cape Fear, and determined to be pre- 
pared for it. They required the merchants to sell their gun- 
powder to the committees for the public use, they bought it 
from other committees, imported it from other colonies, and 
employed agents to manufacture it. They hired men to 


mould bullets. They seized the public arms, and they com- 
pelled every person who owned more than one gun to sur- 
render all but one for the public service. They smuggled 
arms and ammunition from other colonies and the West 
Indies in such quantities that Governor Martin "lamented 
that effectual steps have not been taken to intercept the sup- 
plies of warlike stores that are frequently brought 
into this colony", and asked for three or four cruisers to 
guard the coast, for the sloop stationed at Fort Johnston "is 
not sufficient to attend to the smugglers in this [Cape Fear] 
river alone." The committees also undertook to lie-organize 
the militia. Rowan called for 1,000 volunteers to "be ready 
at the shortest Xotice to march out to Action." The Pitt 
County committee required the militia companies to choose 
new officers to be approved by the committee. The Wilming- 
ton committee required "every white man capable of bear- 
ing arms" to enlist in one of the companies that had been 
organized; and early in July, 1775, gave as one reason for a 
provincial congress which Harnett, Ashe and Howe urged 
Johnston to call, "that a number of men should be raised 
and kept in pay for the defense of the country." So active 
and successful were the committees in organizing military 
companies that Governor Martin issued a proclamation de- 
nouncing the "evil minded persons" who were "endeavouring 
to engage the People to subscribe papers obliging themselves 
to be prepared with Arms, to array themselves in companies, 
and to submit to the illegal and usurped authorities of Com- 

Nor were the committees unmindful of the necessity of 
preparing the minds of the people for war. In this re- 
spect, too, success crowned their efforts. Even historians 
who think North Carolina did not give "general and heroic 
support to the cause of independence," declare that at the 
outbreak of the Revolution the people were "aroused to an 
extraordinary degree of enthusiasm." 1 This enthusiasm Gov- 
ernor Martin charged particularly to the committees of 
safety. To Lord Dartmouth he wrote on June 30, 1775, that 
the people "freely talk of Hostility toward Britain in the 
language of Aliens and avowed Enemies," and later he at- 
tributed this spirit to "the influence of Committees" which, 
he said, "hath been so extended over the Inhabitants of the 
Lower part [Cape Fear section] of this Country, 

1 Dodd, AY. E. : ''North Carolina in the Revolution," in The 
South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. I, p. 156. 


and they are at this day to the distance of an hundred miles 
from the Sea ('oast, so generally possessed with the spirit 
of revolt" that the "spirits of the loyal and well effective to 
Government droop and decline daily" while "the authority, 
the edicts and ordinances of Congresses, Conventions and 
Committees are established supreme and omnipotent by gen- 
eral acquiescence or forced submission, and lawful Govern- 
ment is completely annihilated." 

Martin wrote these dispatches from Fort Johnston at the 
mouth of Cape Fear River where, frightened from the Pal- 
ace at New Bern by the New Bern committee, he had taken 
refuge. His flight was one of the turning points in the revo- 
lutionary movement in North Carolina; it closed the last 
door against reconciliation. To trace the events which in- 
duced him to take this extraordinary step, we must turn 
back to the beginning of the year 1775. It must not be sup- 
posed that the people of North Carolina were a unit in sup- 
port of the revolutionary movement. The movement received 
its chief strength from the eastern counties where men of 
English descent, trained in English institutions and imbued 
with English ideals of government, predominated, and from 
the counties which had .been largely settled by Scotch-Irish 
immigrants whose religious principles and church organiza- 
tions had given them training in democratic ideals and insti- 
tutions. But from the Scotch-Highlanders and the Germans, 
neither of whom understood what the quarrel was about, it 
received scant sympathy, while the old Regulators naturally 
distrusted a cause which counted among its most conspicu- 
ous advocates the author of the "Riot Act" and those who, 
acting under its authority, had but recently so completely 
crushed their own revolt against oppression. By the open- 
ing of the year 1775 these elements of the population began 
to make themselves heard. Addresses signed by 1,500 inhab- 
itants of Rowan, Surry, Guilford, Anson and other inland 
counties, expressing the utmost loyalty to the king and utter 
detestation of all revolutionary proceedings, were sent in to 
the governor, who received similar assurances from the 
Scotch-Highlanders along the Upper Cape Fear. 

Encouraged by these evidences of loyalty, Martin began to 
contemplate a more aggressive policy. On March 16th, there- 
fore, he wrote to General Thomas Gage, at Boston, "if your 
Excellency shall assist me with two or three Stands of arms 
and good store of ammunition, I will be answerable 

to maintain the Sovereignty of this Country to his Majesty 
if the present spirit of resistance shall urge mat- 


ters to the extremity that the people of New England seem 
to be meditating." While Martin was anxiously awaiting 
Gage's reply, events in North Carolina hastened to a climax. 
In April met the last royal Assembly and the second Pro- 
vincial Congress, and in May came news of the battle of 
Lexington. Rumors were afloat that the governor con- 
templated armed action against the people, and it 
was whispered here and there that he was even plan- 
ning to arm the slaves against their masters. Every- 
where the people were arming, organizing companies and 
drilling for war. "The Inhabitants of this Country on the 
Sea Coast," wrote Martin, from New Bern, May 18th, "are 
* arming men, electing officers and so forth. In this 
little Town they are now actually endeavouring to form what 
they call independent Companies under my nose, an 1 Civil 
Government becomes more and more prostrate every day. ' : 
While everybody's nerves were on an edge from these events 
and rumors, Martin's action in dismantling some cannon at 
the Palace in New Bern so alarmed the New Bern commit- 
tee that it set a watch over him to report his every movement. 
In the latter part of May a messenger from the governor of 
New York arrived at the Palace and sought an interview 
with Martin. From him Martin learned that Gage had com- 
plied with his request an 1 ordered arms and ammunition to 
be sent to him from New York. Whether they would be sent 
by a man-of-war or by a merchant ship Martin's informant 
could not say, but thought probably by the latter as the peo- 
ple of the northern colonies had a mistaken idea of the loy- 
alty of the people of the South. This information was ex- 
tremely disconcerting. Martin felt certain that the supplies, 
unless brought by a war vessel, would be seized by the com- 
mittees as he himself "had not a man to protect them." He 
was also greatly perturbed by rumors that the committees 
in all the colonies were planning to seize the persons of the 
royal governors. Prompt action, therefore, was necessary 
to save his military supplies and to assure his personal safety. 
His decision was perhaps wise from a personal point of view, 
but disastrous to his cause. Sending his family in haste to 
New York, and rlispatehing his secretary to Ocracoke Inlet, 
the entrance to the port of New Bern, to prevent the supply 
ship from entering there, he himself fled in secret to the pro- 
tection of the guns of Fort Johnston. 

Martin reached Fort Johnston on June 2d, and began at 
once to coneoct new schemes for reducing the province to 
obedience. His activity took the form of a thundering procla- 


niatioii, in which he denounced the committees of safety and 
warned the people against their illegal proceedings ; of an 
application to General Gage for a royal standard around 
which the loyal and faithful might rally; and of an elaborate 
plan for the organization of the Highlanders and Regulators 
of the interior for military service. His plans were approved 
by the king who promised such assistance as might be neces- 
sary. They gave great alarm to the Whigs. "Our situation 
here is truly alarming," wrote the Wilmington committee; 
"the Governor [is] collecting men, provisions, warlike stores 
of every kind, spiriting up the back country, and perhaps the 
Slaves ; finally strengthening the fort with new works in such 
a manner as may make the Capture of it extremely difficult. " 
"Nothing," declared Harnett, "shall be wanting on our part 
to disconcert such diabolical schemes." The committees kept 
such close watch over his movements that Martin declared no 
messenger or letter could escape them. They intercepted his 
dispatches, frustrated his plans, and in general made life so 
miserable for him that he bemoaned his situation as "most 
despicable and mortifying to any man of greater feelings 
than a Stoic' "I daily see indignantly, the Sacred Majesty 
of my Royal Master insulted, the Rights of His Crown denied 
and violated. His Government set at naught and trampled 
upon, his servants of highest dignity reviled, traduced, abused, 
the Rights of His Subjects destroyed by the most arbitrary 
usurpations, and the whole Constitution unhinged and pros- 
trate, and I live, alas! ingloriously only to deplore it.' 

( hi June 20th, the committees of New Hanover, Brunswick, 
Bladen, Duplin, and Onslow counties, in session at Wilming- 
ton, declared that the governor had "by the whole tenor of 
his conduct, since the unhappy disputes between Great Britain 
and the colonies, discovered himself to be an enemy to the 
happiness of this colony in particular, and to the freedom, 
rights and privileges of America in general." Determined, 
therefore, to treat him as an enemy, the Wilmington committee 
passed an order forbidding any communications with him. 
Expulsion from the province was the logical result of tliis 
order, and the leaders were soon ready to take this step also. 
In a letter to Samuel Johnston, July 13th, urging him to call 
a provincial convention, the Wilmington committee said : 
"We have a number of Enterprising young fellows that would 
attempt to take the fort [Fort Johnston], lint are much afraid 
of having their Conduct disavowed by the Convention." But 
what these "enterprising young fellows" were afraid to at- 
tempt, Cornelius Harnett, John Ashe and Robert Howe made 


up their minds to do. Captain John Collet, the commander of 
tli" fort, who felt all the professional soldier's contempt for 
the militia and all the Britisher's contempt for the provincials, 
took no pains to conceal his feelings. A long series of studied 
insults had exasperated the people of the Cape Fear against 
him, but they had borne them all patiently. But now news 
came that at Governor Martin's command, he was preparing 
the fort "for the reception of a promised reinforcement," the 
arrival of which would be the signal for the erection of the 
king's standard. The committee regarded this as a declaration 
of war, and "having taken these things into consideration, 
judged it might be of the most pernicious consequences to the 
people at large, if the said John Collet should be suffered to 
remain in the Fort, as he might thereby have an opportunity of 
carrying his iniquitous schemes into execution. ' ' They accord- 
ingly called for volunteers to take the fort, and in response 
"a great many volunteers were immediately collected." 

The committee's preparations alarmed Governor Martin. 
Nobody realized better than he that the fort could not be held 
against a determined attack. Yet its defense was a matter of 
honor and its surrender would have a bad effect in the province. 
Besides it held artillery "considerable in value," with a quan- 
tity of movable stores and ammunition. "Its Artillery which 
is heavy," wrote Martin, "might in the hands of the Mob be 
turned against the King's Ship, and so annoy her as to oblige 
her to quit her present station which is most convenient in all 
respects." Then, too, an unsuccessful defense meant the cap- 
ture of the governor himself. In this perplexing situation, 
Martin decided to remove the stores to a transport, to withdraw 
the garrison, dismantle the fortifications, and seek refuge on 
board the Cruizer. These plans he successfully carried into 
effect on July 16th. Almost at the very hour of his flight, Lord 
Dartmouth was writing to him : "I hope His Majesty's Gov- 
ernment in North Carolina may be preserved, and His Gover- 
nor and other officers not reduced to the disgraceful necessity 
of seeking protection on Board the King's Ships." 

Smarting keenly under his disgrace, Martin hastened to 
put on record the punishment he desired to inflict on those 
most responsible for it. From the cabin of the "Cruizer, 
Sloop of War, in Cape Fear River," July 16th, he wrote to 
Lord Dartmouth : 

"Hearing of a Proclamation of the King, proscribing John 
Hancock and Samfuejl Adams of the Massachusetts Bay, and 
seeing clearly that further proscriptions will be necessary 
before Government can be settled again upon sure Founda- 


tions in America, I hold it my indispensable duty to mention 
to your Lordship Cornelius Harnett, John Ashe, Robert 
Howes 2 and Abner Nash, as persons who have marked them- 
selves out as proper objects for such distinction in this Colony 
by their unremitted labours to promote sedition and rebellion 
here from the beginning of the discontents in America to this 
time, that they stand foremost among the patrons of revolt and 
anarchy. ' ' 

Rumors of Martin's plans at Fort Johnston having reached 
the committees of New Hanover and Brunswick, they de- 
termined to take steps to prevent their execution. A call for 
volunteers was promptly answered by 500 minute-men. Be- 
fore setting out for the fort, Col. John Ashe, who commanded 
the New Hanover contingent, dispatched to Governor Martin 
a declaration of their puipose. The fort, he said, had been 
built and maintained by the people of the province to protect 
them in time of war and to aid their trade and navigation in 
time of peace, but these ends had been defeated by Captain 
Collet. He had illegally invaded the rights and property of 
private persons by wantonly detaining vessels applying for 
bills of health ; by threatening vengeance against magistrates 
whose actions in the execution of the duties of their offices he 
happened to disapprove; by setting at defiance the high sheriff 
of the county in the execution of his office; by treating the 
king's writs served on him for just debts with shameful con- 
tempt and insult ; by unparalled injustice in detaining and em- 
bezzling a large quantity of goods which having been unfortu- 
nately wrecked near the fort, had from every principle of 
humanity the highest claims to his attention and care for the 
benefit of the unhappy sufferers ; by his base encouragement of 
slaves to elope from their masters and his atrocious and horrid 
declaration that he would incite them to insurrection. These 
things, and many others of like character, had excited the in- 
dignation and resentment of the people but they had sub- 
mitted to them for a time in the hopes that the Assembly 
would grant relief; but now they learned that Captain Collet 
was dismantling the fort and they proposed to prevent it. 
Replying to this communication, Martin declared that Captain 
Collet was acting at his command and lie hoped, therefore, the 
people would not proceed with their design of attacking the 

2 "Robert Howes," wrote Martin, "is commonly called Howe, he 
having impudently assumed that name for some years past in affecta- 
tion of the noble family that hears it, whose least eminent virtues have 
ever been far beyond his imitation." Col. Rec, Vol. X, p. 08. 


John Ashe's answer was an order to all the masters and 
commanders of ships in the Cape Fear to furnish their boats 
to convey his men and arms down the river to Fort Johnston. 
On July 18th, 500 minute-men under his command rendez- 
voused at Brunswick and during the night marched on the 
fort and applied the torch. Early in the morning of July 19th, 
Martin was aroused from his quarters on the Cruizer by the 
announcement that Fort Johnston was on fire. Hurrying to 
the deck he watched the rapid spread of the flames as they re- 
duced the fort to ashes. The "rabble," he wrote, burned sev- 
eral houses that had been erected by Captain Collet, and thus, 
in the words of the Wilmington committee, "effectually dis- 
lodged that atrocious Freebooter." "Mr. John Ashe and Mr. 
Cornelius Harnett," wrote the enraged governor, "were ring- 
leaders of this savage and audacious mob." 


Upon the adjournment of the second Provincial Congress, 
April 7, 1775, authority was given to John Harvey, or in 
the event of his death to Samuel Johnston, to call another 
Congress whenever it became necessary. Harvey dying in 
May, the leadership of the revolutionary party devolved upon 
Johnston. Although a native of Scotland, Johnston had 
passed his life since early infancy in North Carolina, and felt 
for the colony all the affection and loyalty that men usually 
feel only for the land of their nativity. His public career, 
which began in 1759 with his election to represent Chowan 
County in the General Assembly, covered a period of forty- 
four years and embraced every branch of the public service. 
He was legislator, delegate to four provincial congresses, 
president of two constitutional conventions, member of the 
Continental Congress, judge, governor, United States senator. 
By inheritance, by training and by conviction he was a con- 
servative in politics. He clung tenaciously to the things that 
were and viewed with apprehension, if not with distrust, any 
departure from the beaten path of experienc?. Holding the 
principles of the British Constitution in great reverence, he 
regarded the policies of the British ministry toward America 
as revolutionary in their tendency, and therefore threw the 
whole weight of his influence against them. 

In the great crises of our history, immediately preceding 
and immediately following the Revolution, Johnston saw per- 
haps more clearly than any of his colleagues the true nature 
of the problem confronting them. This problem was, on the 
one hand, to preserve in America the fundamental principles 
of English liberty against the encroachments of the British 
Parliament, and on the other, to secure the guarantees of law 
and order against the well-meant but ill-considered schemes 
of honest but ignorant reformers. For a full quarter of a 
century he pursued both of these ends so patiently and per 
sistently that neither the wrath of a royal governor, threaten- 


Samuel Johxstox 

From a portrait in the Governor's office, Raleigh 


ing withdrawal of royal favor and deprivation of office, nor the 
fierce and passionate denunciations of party leaders, menac- 
ing him with loss of popular support and defeat at the polls, 
could swerve him a hair's breadth from the path of what he 
considered the public good. He had in the fullest degree that 
rarest of all virtues in men who serve the public, courage — 
courage to fight the battles of the people, if need be, against 
the people themselves. While he never questioned the right 
of the people to decide public questions as they chose, he fre- 
quently doubted the wisdom of their decisions ; and when such 
doubt arose in his mind he spoke his sentiments without fear 
or favor, maintaining his positions with a relentlessness in 
reasoning that generally carried conviction and out of defeat 
wrung ultimate victory. More than once in his public career 
the people, when confronted by his immovable will, in fits of 
party passion, discarded his leadership for that of more com- 
pliant leaders, but only in their calmer moments to turn to 
him again to point the. way out of the mazes into which their 
inexperience had led them. An ample fortune made him inde- 
pendent of public office. He possessed a vigorous and pene- 
trating intellect, seasoned with sound and varied learning. 
"His powerful frame,' 1 ' says McRee, "was a fit engine f6r 
the vigorous intellect that gave it animation. Strength was 
his characteristic. In his relations to the public an inflexible 
sense of duty and justice dominated. There was a remarkable 
degree of self-reliance and majesty about the man. His erect 
carriage and his intolerance of indolence, meanness, vice and 
wrong gave him an air of sternness. He commanded the 
respect and admiration, but not the love of the people. ' ' 1 

Such was the man upon whose shoulders now fell the 
mantle of John Harvey. It became necessary for Him to exer- 
cise the authority with which he was clothed sooner than was 
expected. The flight of the governor left the province with- 
out a government or a constitutional method of calling an As- 
sembly. The battle of Lexington, followed by the destruction 
of Fort Johnston, produced a state of war. Both sides, recog- 
nizing this fact, were straining every nerve to get ready for 
the conflict. The situation, therefore, called for a larger 
authority than had been granted to the committees of safety. 
A new government had to be formed, a currency devised, an 
army organized, munitions of war collected, and a system of 
defense planned; and all these preparations had to be made 

1 Life and Correspondence of James Iredell, Vol. 1, p. 37. 

Vol. 1—24 


with a view to continental as well as provincial affairs. The 
leaders of "the Whig party on the Cape Fear were required 
daily to exercise authority and accept responsibilities that 
exceeded the powers granted them; and they realized earlier 
than their friends elsewhere the necessity for organizing a 
government that could act independently of the royal author- 
ity. Only a general congress could provide this government. 
Accordingly on May 31, 1775, Howe, Harnett and Ashe joined 
in a letter to Samuel Johnston — Harvey having died a few 
days before — suggesting that he call a congress "as soon as 
possible. ' : Johnston, however, thought the suggestion prema- 
ture, and was reluctant to take a step that would widen still 
further the breach with the royal government. Besides the 
Assembly had been summoned to meet July 12, and he thought 
it wise not to call a convention until then, as "many members 
of the Assembly would probably be chosen to serve in conven- 
tion. " But at his quiet home on the Albemarle, Johnston 
failed to appreciate the situation on the Cape Fear, where a 
state of war practically existed, and he hesitated. "I expect 
my Conduct in not immediately calling a Provincial Con- 
gress," he wrote, "will be much censured by many, but being 
conscious of having discharged my duty according to my 
best Judgment I shall be the better able to bear it. " The Cape 
Fear leaders became impatient. On June 29, Howe, Harnett 
and Ashe wrote again to Johnston, taking him to task for his 
delay. "The circumstances of the times," and "the expecta- 
tions of the people," they thought, ought to determine his 
conduct. The people, wrote the Wilmington committee, were 
"Continually clamouring for a Provincial Convention. They 
hope everything from its Immediate Session, fear everything 
from its delay." In the meantime Governor Martin pro- 
rogued the Assembly. Thereupon other committees joined 
in the request for a convention. Thus pressed, Johnston 
yielded and issued his call for a Congress to meet at Hillsboro, 
August 20th. 

Nothing shows the progress that had been made toward 
revolution during the year more clearly than the full attend- 
ance at this Congress. Just a year, lacking but five days, had 
passed since the first Congress met at New Bern. At that 
Congress seventy-one delegates were present, while five coun- 
ties and three towns sent no representatives. But in the Hills- 
boro Congress of August, 1775, every county and every bor- 
ough town were represented, and 184 delegates were present. 
No abler body of men ever sat in North Carolina. More than 


half of them had served in the Assembly or in the first two 
Congresses. Among them were Johnston, Caswell, Howe, 
Hooper, Hewes, Burke, Harnett, John Ashe, Abner Nash and 
Willie Jones. Appearing for the first time in a revolutionary 
assemblage were Samuel Ashe, afterwards governor; Joseph 
Winston and Frederick Hambright, distinguished among the 
heroes of King's Mountain; Francis Nash, who fell gloriously 
leading his brigade at Germantown ; Thomas Polk, Waightstill 
Avery, John McNitt Alexander, and their Mecklenburg col- 
leagues, fresh from setting up a county government "inde- 
pendent of the Crown of Great Britain and former constitu- 
tion of this Province"; John Penn, a recent arrival from Vir- 
ginia, whose name is indissolubly associated with those of 
Hooper and Hewes as signers of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence ; Jethro Sumner and James Hogun, soldiers whose serv- 
ices on the battlefield helped to make that Declaration good. 
The Congress organized by the election of Samuel Johnston 
"president" — a significant change in the title of its presiding 

The delegates brought to their deliberations a spirit and 
a point of view almost national. No such thing as a truly na- 
tional sentiment existed in America at that time, but the Hills- 
boro Congress approached it as nearly as any body that had 
yet assembled in the colonies. Among their first acts was to 
approve anew the Continental Association which the first Con- 
tinental Congress had recommended, and to adopt and sub- 
scribe a test denying the right of Parliament "to impose 
Taxes upon these Colonies to regulate the internal police 
thereof"; declaring that "the people of this province, singly 
and collectively, are bound by the Acts and resolutions of 
the Continental and Provincial Congresses, because in both 
they are freely represented by persons chosen by themselves ;' : 
and solemnly binding themselves to support and maintain 
the policies and plans of the Continental Congress. Since 
the Continental Congress had resolved to raise an army and 
to emit $3,000,000 for its support, the Provincial Congress 
resolved unanimously that North Carolina would bear her 
proportionate share of the burden and made provision for the 
redemption of the sum allotted to her by the Continental Con- 
gress, and also authorized the raising and organization of 
two regiments of Continental troops. Throughout its pro- 
ceedings, in its appeals to the people, in the organization of 
an army, and in the formation of a provisional government, 


the one clear note sounding above all others was "the com- 
mon cause of America." 

Although the delegates were unanimous in expressing this 
sentiment, there was no such unanimity among the people, 
and Governor Martin had been alarmingly successful in his 
efforts to arouse and organize the disaffected elements. His 
agents were especially active among the former Eegulators 
and Highlanders. Hillsboro and Cross Creek, therefore, were 
the chief centers of disaffection to the American cause. The 
Whig leaders, of course, recognized the importance of coun- 
teracting Governor Martin's influence in these sections. This 
was the chief reason for changing the meeting place of Con- 
gress from New Bern to Hillsboro. Immediately after organ- 
izing, therefore, Congress turned its attention to these prob- 
lems. Consideration was given to the Regulators first, for 
Governor Martin had succeeded in persuading them that they 
were still subject to punishment for their late insurrection, 
and that their only chance of securing pardon was to aid the 
government in the present crisis. Congress adopted a reso- 
lution declaring all such representations false and promising 
to protect the Eegulators "from every attempt to punish them 
by any Means whatever." A committee was appointed, of 
which Thomas Person, who had been a leader among the Regu- 
lators, was a member, to confer with such persons as enter- 
tained "any religious or political Scruples" against "asso- 
ciating in the common Cause of America, to remove any ill 
impressions that have been made upon them by the artful 
devices of the enemies of America, and to induce them by 
Argument and Persuasion" to unite with the Whig party in 
defense of their liberties. Another committee, numbering 
among its members Archibald Maclaine, iUexander McAlis- 
ter, Alexander McKay, and Farquard Campbell, good High- 
landers, all, was appointed to explain to the Highlanders who 
had lately arrived in North Carolina "the Nature of our Un- 
happy Controversy with' Great Britain, and to advise and 
urge them to unite with the other Inhabitants of America in 
defence of those rights which they derive from God and the 
Constitution. ' : Nor were the people at large to be neglected. 
Maurice Moore, Hooper, Howe, Caswell and Hewes were di- 
rected to prepare an address to the people of North Carolina, 
"stating the present Controversy in an easy, familiar stile 
and manner obvious to the very Meanest Capacity;" vindicat- 
imr the taking up of arms by showing the necessity which had 
been forced upon the colonies by the British ministry, and 


ascribing the silence of the legislative powers to the gover- 
nor's "refusing to exercise the Functions of office." Unhap- 
pily these plans to unite the people were better conceived than 
they were executed; North Carolina remained divided 
throughout the Revolution and that strength and vigor which 
she should have contributed to the support of the general 
cause was largely consumed in civil strife at home. 

The two most important matters before the Congress were 
the organization of an army and the formation of a provi- 
sional government. "Our principal debates," wrote Johns- 
ton, "will be about raising troops." As a preliminary to this 
step, the Congress first issued what may not inaptly be called 
a declaration of war. It declared that whereas "hostilities 
being actually commenced in the Massachusetts Bay by the 
British troops under the command of General Gage ; 
And whereas His Excellency Governor Martin hath taken 
a very active and instrumental share in opposition to the 
means which have been adopted by this and the other United 
Colonies for the common safety, * * therefore [resolved 
that] this colony be immediately put into a state of defense. ' : 
Two regiments of 500 men each were ordered "as part of 
and on the same establishment with the Continental army." 
Col. James Moore was assigned to the command of the first, 
Col. Robert Howe to the second. Both won military fame in 
the war that followed. Six regiments of 500 minute-men each, 
were ordered to be raised in the six military districts, in 
which the province was divided. These districts with their 
colonels were : Edenton District, Edward Vail, colonel ; Hali- 
fax District, Nicholas Long, colonel; Salisbury District, 
Thomas Wade, colonel ; Hillsboro District, James Thackston, 
colonel; New Bern District, Richard Caswell, colonel; Wil- 
mington District, Alexander Lillington, colonel. Of these offi- 
cers only Caswell and Lillington attained distinction. The 
minute-men were to be enlisted for six months, and when 
called into active service were to be under the same discipline 
as the continental troops. In addition to these 4,000 troops, 
provision was made for a more effective organization of the 
militia, and for raising and organizing independent com- 

The problem of financing these military organizations 
early occupied the attention of the Congress. A committee 
appointed to make a statement of the public funds reported 
that the province owed large sums to individuals, but how 
much it had on hand with which to meet these claims the 


committee could not say, as the accounts of the provincial 
treasurers were not accessible. It also found that there were 
"divers large sums of money due from sundry sheriffs," 
and urged that steps be taken to compel speedy settlements. 
Congress, however, had little confidence in ever receiving any 
considerable sums from this source and accordingly to meet 
the expenses necessary for defense of the province resorted 
to the old familiar policy of issuing paper money. The amount 
determined upon was $125,000 in bills of credit, for the re- 
demption of which the faith of the province was pledged. 
Significant of the drift of sentiment was the change from the 
English pound to the Spanish milled dollar as the standard 
of value. The new bills were to pass at the rate of eight 
shillings to the dollar, and for their redemption a tax of two 
shillings was to be levied annually on each taxable from 1777 
to 1786, "unless the money should be sooner sunk." Any 
person who should refuse to receive the bills in payment of 
any debt, or "speak disrespectfully" of them, or offer them 
at a greater rate than eight shillings for a dollar should "be 
treated as an enemy to his country." Persons convicted of 
counterfeiting, altering, or erasing them, or of knowingly 
passing such counterfeited, or altered bills, were to "suffer 
Death, without Benefit of Clergy. ' ' 

To agree upon a plan of civil government was a more diffi- 
cult task than the organization of the army. Most men will 
frankly confess their ignorance of military matters, and will- 
ingly submit to the opinions of experts, but no American 
would consider himself loyal to the teachings of the fathers 
were he to admit himself incapable of manufacturing offhand 
a perfect plan of civil government. Congress, therefore, 
found no lack of plans and ideas. On August 24th a strong 
committee was appointed to prepare a plan of government 
made necessary by the "absence" of Governor Martin. The 
committee reported September 9th. The plan proposed and 
adopted continued the Congress as the supreme branch of 
the government with a few changes that will be noticed. The 
executive and judicial authority was vested in a Provincial 
Council, six district committees of safety, and the local com- 
mittees of safety. 

Congress was to be the supreme power in the province. 
Henceforth it was to meet annually at such time and place 
as should be designated by the Provincial Council. Delegates 
were to be elected annually in October. Each county was 
to be entitled to five delegates, and each borough town to one. 


The privilege of suffrage was limited to freeholders. The 
members of Congress were to qualify by taking an oath in 
the presence of three members of the Provincial Council, 
acknowledging allegiance to the Crown, denying the right of 
Parliament to levy internal taxes on the colonies, and agree- 
ing to abide by the acts and resolutions of the Provincial 
and Continental Congresses. Each county and each town was 
to have one vote in Congress. No constitutional limitation 
was placed on the authority of Congress, and as the supreme 
power in the province it could review the acts of the executive 
branches of the government. 

The executive powers of the government were vested in 
the committees. The committees of the counties and towns 
were continued practically as they were. Some limitation 
was placed on their power by making their acts reviewable 
by the district committees with the right of appeal to the Pro- 
vincial Council. They were empowered to make such rules 
and regulations as they saw fit for the enforcement of their 
authority, but they could not inflict corporal punishment ex- 
cept by imprisonment. Within their own jurisdictions, they 
were to execute the orders of the district committees and the 
Provincial Council. They were to enforce the Continental 
Association and the ordinances of the Provincial and Conti- 
nental Congresses. Each committee was required to organize 
a sub-committee of secrecy, intelligence and observation to 
correspond with other committees and with the Council. They 
were vested with the power to arrest and examine suspected 
persons and if deemed necessary to hold them for trial by a 
higher tribunal. Members of the committees were to be 
elected annually by the freeholders. 

Above these local committees was placed a system of dis- 
trict committees, one in each of the military districts, com- 
posed of a president and twelve members. The members were 
to be elected by the delegates in Congress from the counties 
which composed the several districts. They were to sit at 
least once in every three months. Power was given to them, 
subject to the authority of the Provincial Council, to direct 
the movements of the militia and other troops within their 
districts. They were to sit as courts for the trial of civil 
causes, for investigations into charges of disaffection to the 
American cause, and as appellate courts over the town and 
county committees. They shared with the Council authority 
to compel debtors suspected of intention to leave the prov- 


ince to give security to their creditors. Finally, they were 
to superintend the collection of the public revenue. 

The Provincial Council was the chief executive authority 
of the new government. It was to be composed of thirteen 
members, one elected by the Congress for the province at 
at large, and two from each of the military districts. Vacan- 
cies occurring during the recess of Congress were to be filled 
by the committee of safety for the district in which the va- 
cancy fell. Military officers, except officers of the militia, were 
ineligible for membership. The members w T ere to qualify by 
subscribing the oath 'prescribed for members of Congress. 
The Council was to meet once everv three months, and a ma- 
jority of the members was to constitute a quorum. Authority 
was given to them to direct the military operations of the 
province, to call out the militia when needed, and to execute 
the acts of the Assembly that were still in force with respect 
to the militia. They could issue commissions, suspend officers, 
order courts-martial, reject officers of the militia chosen by 
the people, and fill vacancies. But their real power lay in a 
sort of "general welfare" clause which empowered them "to 
do and Transact all such matters and things as they may 
judge expedient to strengthen, secure and defend the Colony." 
To carry out their powers, they were authorized to draw 
on the public treasury for such sums of money as they needed, 
for which they were accountable to Congress. In all matters 
they were given an appellate jurisdiction over the district 
committees, and in turn were subject to the authority of Con- 
gress. Their authority continued only during the recess of 
Congress, and Congress at each session was to review and 
pass upon their proceedings. 

Such was the government that was to organize, equip and 
direct the military forces raised by Congress and to inaug- 
urate the great war about to burst upon the colony. As 
Saunders says, the die was now cast and North Carolina was 
at last a self-governing commonwealth. The people had so 
declared through representatives whom they had chosen after 
a campaign of forty days. Nobody was taken by surprise, for 
all knew that the Congress elected in that campaign would 
formulate a provisional government. This action was taken 
fully eight months before the Continental Congress advised 
the colonies to adopt new constitutions. "The more the action 
of this great Hillsborough Congress is studied, and the events 
immediately preceding," writes Saunders, "the more wonder- 


fill seems the deliberate, well-considered, resolute boldness of 
our ancestors." 2 

The efficiency of the new government depended, of course, 
upon the men chosen to administer it. The members of the 
Provincial Council were elected Saturday, September 9th. 
Samuel Johnston was chosen by the Congress for the province 
at large. The other members were : Cornelius Harnett and 
Samuel Ashe, for the Wilmington District; Thomas Jones and 
Whitmill Hill, for the Edenton District; Abner Nash and 
James Coor, for the New Bern District ; Thomas Person and 
John Kinchen, for the Hillsboro District; Willie Jones and 
Thomas Eaton, for the Halifax District; Samuel Spencer and 
Waightstill Avery, for the Salisbury District. On October 
18th the Council held their first session at Johnston Court 
House and elected Cornelius Harnett president. 

Cornelius Harnett thus became the first chief executive 
of North Carolina independent of the British Crown. Gover- 
nor in all but name, he exercised greater authority than the 
people have since conferred on their governor, and occupied 
a position of honor and power, but also of great responsibility 
and peril. He had long been in the public service. Entering 
the Assembly in 1754 as the representative of the borough 
of Wilmington, he had represented that town in every Assem- 
bly since that date. His legislative career covered a period 
of twenty-seven years, embracing service in the Assembly, in 
the Provincial Congress, and in the Continental Congress. 
From 1765 he was conspicuous in every movement in opposi- 
tion to the colonial policy of the British ministry. He led 
the resistance to the Stamp Act on the Cape Fear; was chair- 
man of the Sons of Liberty and their leader in enforcing the 
Noil-Importation Association; and was among the foremost 
in organizing and directing the activities of the Committee 
of Correspondence. Perhaps his chief service was rendered 
as chairman of the Wilmington-New Hanover committees of 
safety. Of these he was the acknowledged master spirit, By 
his activity in "warning and watching the disaffected, en- 
couraging the timid, collecting the means of defence, and com- 
municating its enthusiasm to. all orders," he made this local 
committee the most effective agency, except the Provincial 
Congress itself, in getting the Revolution under way in North 
Carolina. Governor Martin recognized in him the chief source 

2 Prefatory Notes to Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. X, 
p. viii-ix. 


of opposition to the royal government, marked him out for 
special punishment, and induced Sir Henry Clinton to except 
him, together with Robert Howe, from his offer of general 
amnesty to all who would return to their allegiance. As presi- 
dent of the Provincial Council, he fully sustained his repu- 
tation for executive skill, energy and foresight. From the 
outbreak of the Revolution Harnett had taken a broad and 
liberal view of the relations of the colonies to each other, 
and he inspired his colleagues on the Council with the same 
continental spirit that was the chief characteristic of his own 
statesmanship. He was foremost among the advocates of a 
united Declaration of Independence, and wrote the first reso- 
lution adopted by any of the colonies favoring such a step 
by the Continental Congress. As a delegate to the Conti- 
nental Congress he bore an important part in framing the 
Articles of Confederation, which he regarded as "the best 
confederacy that could be formed, especially when we con- 
sider the number of states, their different interests [and] cus- 

Harnett was not politically ambitious. He loved ease and 
pleasure, and had sufficient fortune to enjoy both. Public 
office, therefore, as such, made no appeal to him. He did not 
need its emoluments. He cared little for its distinctions. In- 
deed, the offices which he held brought more of sacrifice than 
of gain, more of drudgery than of glory. Desire to serve 
his country, regardless of the cost to himself, alone held him 
to the duties, burdens and dangers of the public service. With 
a profound faith in popular government, he had in his nature 
none of the elements of the demagogue. He appealed neither 
to the prejudices nor to the passions of mankind. His work 
lay not on the hustings, nor in the legislative hall, but rather 
in the council chamber. His chief service was executive in 
its nature. In the performance of his duties, we are told, "he 
could be wary and circumspect, or decided and daring, as 
exigency dictated or emergency required." Such work as he 
did was the backbone of the Revolution, without which the 
eloquence of the orator, the wisdom of the legislator, and the 
daring of the soldier would have been barren of results. Yet 
it was work that offered but little opportunity for display, 
and brought but little fame. For Cornelius Harnett its only 
opportunity was for service, its only reward a wasted body 
and a martyr's grave. 

The Provincial Council were forced to work under the most 
unfavorable conditions. To begin with there was not a place 


in the province, except possibly the Palace at New Bern, suit- 
able for their sessions. From necessity, as well as from pol- 
icy, they became a migratory body. The members were 
subjected to almost every personal inconvenience and dis- 
comfort. But these were among the least of their difficulties. 
Almost without any of the means with which governments 
usually administer public affairs, they were compelled to 
struggle against political and economic conditions that might 
well have daunted the most determined. Thev had to rely 
for success on a public sentiment which they themselves, to 
a large extent, had to create, and at the same time to enforce 
measures that were at once burdensome and irritating. They 
had no powerful press to uphold their hands. The people 
were scattered over an immense area, with means of com- 
munication crudely primitive. There were no public high- 
ways except a few rough and dangerous forest paths fre- 
quently impassable. Their principal river was held at the 
mouth by hostile ships of war, and at the head of navigation 
by an enemy bold, hardy, and enthusiastic in the king's cause. 
The East was dominated by an oligarchy of wealthy planters 
and merchants, living in an almost feudal state, supported 
by slave labor; the West was a pure democracy, composed of 
small farmers, living on isolated farms, tilled by their own 
hands. Both East and West, aristocracy and democracy, were 
equally determined in their opposition to the British gov- 
ernment, but between the two, right through the heart of the 
province, were projected the Scotch Highlanders and the for- 
mer Regulators — the one eager to prove their loyalty to the 
throne against which they were but recently in rebellion, the 
other equally as eager to wreak vengeance upon the men 
who had but lately crushed and humiliated them at Alamance. 
The province was a rural community without a single center 
of population. There were no mills or factories. The only 
port of any consequence was in the hands of the enemy. Thus 
the Council's task was to organize an army among a people 
divided in sentiment and unused to war; to equip it without 
factories for the manufacture of clothes, arms or ammuni- 
tion; to train it without officers of experience; to maintain 
it without money; and to direct its movements in the face of 
an enemy superior in numbers, in equipment, and in military 

The Council was created as a war measure, and its prin- 
cipal work related to military affairs. The province was 
threatened in front and in the rear. In front Governor Mar- 


tin was organizing the Highlanders and Regulators for a de- 
scent on the lower Cape Fear, and Governor Dunmore of 
Virginia was encouraging an insurrection of slaves on the 
Albemarle. In the rear bands of Tories were overrunning 
Western South Carolina and threatening the frontier of North 
Carolina, while the Indians, instigated by British agents, were 
showing signs of restlessness. Foreseeing that the province 
would ''soon be invaded by British troops," the Council 
issued orders to Colonel Moore and Colonel Howe of the con- 
tinental regiments to resist "to the utmost of their power' ' 
any attempt to invade the province; directed the committees 
of Wilmington and Brunswick to stop all communications, 
' ' on any pretense whatever, ' ' between the people and the gov- 
ernor, and ' ' to cut off all supplies of provisions to any of the 
ships of war lying in Cape Fear River;" and commanded 
Colonel Griffith Rutherford and Colonel Thomas Polk of 
the Salisbury District to raise two regiments for defense of 
the frontier. Had they been less than tragical, these high- 
sounding orders, in comparison with the Council's means for 
enforcing them, would have been ludicrous. The Council 
found the minute-men and continental troops practically with- 
out clothes, arms, ammunition, or any of the necessary equip- 
ment of war, the people "destitute of sufficient arms for de- 
fense of their lives and property," and the outlook for 
supplying them unpromising enough. They drew upon every 
conceivable source. They bought and borrowed, made and 
mended, begged and confiscated, and though their efforts fell 
far short of what the emergency required, yet they were suffi- 
cient to enable the western militia to march to the aid of 
South Carolina on the famous "Snow Campaign", to enable 
Colonel Howe to drive Lord Dunmore out of Norfolk, and 
to enable Colonel Moore to win a brilliant campaign against 
the Highlanders at Moore's Creek Bridge. South Carolina 
and Virginia were profuse in their thanks to President Har- 
nett for important assistance in their hour of need, while 
Governor Martin expressed great "mortification," and de- 
clared it was a matter "greatly to be lamented." 

With war impending, both sides began to give anxious 
thought to the attitude of the Indian tribes along the frontier. 
The British expected their active aid, the Americans knew 
they could hope for nothing feetter than their neutrality. Un- 
fortunately, in the competition which immediately arose the 
Americans were at every disadvantage. It was they who, 
coming in daily contact with the red man, had driven him 


from his hunting grounds, destroyed his property, burned his 
towns, reduced his women and children to slavery, and slain 
•his warriors. Eternal enmity seemed to be decreed between 
them. On the other hand, since the expulsion of the French 
in 1763, the Indians had been trained to look to British officials 
and agents as the sole representatives of authority standing 
between them and the encroachments of the American bor- 
derer. Licensed British traders dwelt in almost every Indian 
village, married Indian women, adopted Indian customs, and 
made the Indians' interests their own. The British govern- 
ment, too, had been especially fortunate in its agents among 
the Indians. In the Northern Department Sir William John- 
son and in the Southern Department Captain John Stuart were 
known to the Indians as generous, sympathetic friends, ever 
watchful over their interests. From the Americans, there- 
fore, ever steadily encroaching upon their possessions, the 
Indians knew they could expect nothing but rivalry and op- 
pression; from the British they had been taught to expect 
assistance and protection. 

Accordingly when the severance came the Indians, almost 
to a tribe, threw their power into the scale with the Crown. 
As early as June, 1775, the British government decided to 
call them into active service. Presents and clothing were dis- 
tributed among all the tribes from the Great Lakes to the 
Gulf; hatchets, arms and ammunition were issued to the war- 
riors, and liberal bounties were offered for American scalps. 
All along the border the Indians awaited the command to begin 
their work of fire and slaughter. In August, 1775, the Chero- 
kee sent to Alexander Cameron, the deputy agent resident 
among them, a "talk," assuring him that they were ready at a 
signal to fall upon the frontier settlements of Georgia and the 
Carolinas. Circulars were distributed among the border 
Tories, apprising them of the plans and directing them to 
repair to Cameron's headquarters to join in the assault. For- 
tunately, the Cherokee "talk" fell into the hands of the 
Americans and warned them of the impending danger. 

The Americans themselves had not been inactive. Indian 
affairs had received the attention of both the Continental 
Congress and the Provincial Congress. The former divided 
the colonies into three Indian departments and appointed 
agents in each. In the Southern Department the agents were 
John Walker of Virginia, Willie Jones of North Carolina, 
Robert Eae, Edward Wilkinson and George Galphin of South 
Carolina. The Provincial Congress at Hillsboro directed 


that all persons who had any information about Indian affairs 
should submit it to Willie Jones. Accordingly Thomas Wade, 
Thomas Polk and John Walker laid before him information 
relative to the "hostile intentions" of Governor Martin and 
the Indians which was of "so serious and important a 
Nature" that it was referred to the Congress for considera- 
tion. The necessity for placating the Indians was urgent. 
Congress, therefore, appropriated £1,000 to be used by Willie 
Jones in the purchase of presents for them. The southern 
agents also were active. Galphin and Rae held a "talk" with 
the Creek Indians at Augusta, and in November, 1775, all five 
agents met a delegation of Creek warriors at Salisbury. The 
burden of their "talks" was neutrality; "you have been 
repeatedly told the nature of the disputes between the father 
and his children," they said, "and we desire you to have no 
concern in it." 

One of the results of these efforts to placate the Indians 
was the "Snow Campaign" to which allusion has just been 
made. In October, 1775, the Council of Safety of South Caro- 
lina, in accordance with their agreement with the Chero- 
kee, dispatched a large supply of powder and lead to the 
Lower Towns of that nation. The Loyalists of Western South 
Carolina, who were led to believe that the Whigs were plan- 
ning to bring the Indians down upon them, embodied in force 
under Major Joseph Robinson and Captain Patrick Cunning- 
ham, intercepted the supply wagons, seized the powder and 
lead, compelled a Whig force under Major Andrew William- 
son, who had been sent to disperse them, to seek refuge in the 
fort at Ninety-Six, and after a vigorous siege forced him to 
capitulate. Their success spread alarm among the Whigs of 
both the Carolinas. The South Carolina Congress immedi- 
ately dispatched a force of 2,500 men under Colonel Richard 
Richardson to the scene, while 700 men from Western North 
Carolina hastened into South Carolina to co-operate with him. 
This force was composed of 220 Continentals under Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Alexander Martin, 200 militia of Rowan 
County under Colonel Griffith Rutherford, and 300 Mecklen- 
burg militia under Colonel Thomas Polk. Thus reinforced, 
in spite of the inclement weather and the indifferent equip- 
ment of his men, Colonel Richardson pushed forward vigor- 
ously against the enemy, breaking up such parties as ventured 
to oppose him and capturing several of their leaders. The 
campaign came to an end with a battle at Cane Brake on 
Reedy River, about four miles within the Cherokee reserva- 


tion, in which Colonel William Thomson surprised and 
destroyed a Loyalist force under Cunningham. Colonel Rich- 
ardson, considering the campaign now at an end and "its ob- 
ject accomplished, dismissed the North Carolina troops and 
marched his own men back to their homes. In his campaign 
he had captured most of the Loyalist leaders and about 400 
of their followers. Governor Martin in a letter to Lord Dart- 
mouth wrote that the reinforcements from North Carolina 
"put the Rebels of the Country in sufficient force to disarm 
the loyal people who had made so noble a stand and who were 
collecting strength so fast that they must have carried every- 
thing before them if it had been possible to afford them the 
least support. This check of the friends of Government in 
that Province is greatly to be lamented." In local tradition 
the campaign became known as the "Snow Campaign" be- 
cause of the heavy fall of snow in which it was waged. 

In the meantime another force of North Carolinians had 
gone to the aid of the Virginians in their campaign against 
their royal governor, Lord Dunmore. Like Martin of North 
Carolina and Campbell of South Carolina, Dunmore had fled 
from the province and sought refuge on board a man-of-war. 
During the summer he assembled in Chesapeake Bay a flotilla 
which enabled him to capture Norfolk, the chief town of the 
province with a population of 6,000. On November 7th, from 
his cabin on the Fowney, he issued a proclamation in which 
he declared war on the people of Virginia, denounced as trait- 
ors all persons capable of bearing arms who did not repair 
at once to his standard, and offered freedom to "all indentured 
servants, negroes, or others appertaining to rebels." His 
emissaries were also busy trying to incite the slaves of the 
Albemarle section of North Carolina to insurrection. To pre- 
vent the success of his schemes a force of Virginia militia 
under Colonel William Woodford fortified Great Bridge near 
Norfolk, where they were joined by 150 minute-men from 
North Carolina under Colonel Nicholas Long and Major 
Jethro Sumner. On December 8th a force of British regulars 
attempted to drive them away, but were repulsed with loss and 
forced to retreat into Norfolk. Three days later Colonel 
Robert Howe, with the Second North Carolina Continentals, 
arrived at Great Bridge and took command. Howe pushed 
forward immediately, compelled the British to evacuate Nor- 
folk, and entered the town December 14th. "Lord Dunmore 
had abandoned the town," wrote an officer, describing these 
events, "and several of the Tories had fled on board their 


vessels, with all their effects; others of them are applying for 
forgiveness to their injured countrymen." For this service 
Colonel Howe received the thanks of the Virginia Convention. 
Dunmore could not afford to leave the rebels in possession 
of Norfolk. On New Year's day, 1776, therefore, he began 
a bombardment of the town. "About four o'clock in the after- 
noon,' 1 wrote an officer on His Majesty's ship Otter, "the 
signal was given from the Liverpool, when a dreadful can- 
nonading began from the three ships, which lasted till it was 
too hot for the Rebels to stand on their wharves. Our boats 
now landed and set fire to the town in several places. It 
burnt fiercely all night and the next day; nor are the flames 
yet extinguished; but no more of Norfolk remains than about 
twelve houses, which have escaped the flames. ' ' The destruc- 
tion of Norfolk served no military purpose but it inflamed the 
people of Virginia and North Carolina and hastened the de- 
velopment of sentiment for independence. 

Following hard upon the "Snow Campaign" and the de- 
struction of Norfolk, came the defeat of the Highlanders at 
Moore's Creek Bridge, February 27, 1776. The victory of 
Moore's Creek Bridge was an event of much greater signifi- 
cance than is generally accorded it in the histories of the 
Revolution, and Frothingham is guilty of no exaggeration 
when he calls it "the Lexington and Concord" of the South. 
So far from being an isolated event, it was part of an exten- 
sive campaign planned by the king and ministry for the sub- 
jugation of all the southern colonies which but for the victory, 
at Moore's Creek Bridge would probably have succeeded. 

Governor Martin in his cabin on the Cruizer had never 
once relaxed his efforts to restore the king's authority in 
North Carolina. Some Loyalists, who in spite of the vigi- 
lance of the committees found means of communicating with 
him, assured him that the people were tired of the rule of 
"the little tyrannies" called committees which they had set 
up and were eager for him "to relieve them from the self- 
made yoke which they now found intolerable." Encouraged 
by such reports, Martin submitted to the ministry a well- 
conceived plan for the reduction not of North Carolina only, 
but also of Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. According 
to this plan, he was to raise 10,000 Tories, Regulators and 
Highlanders in the interior of North Carolina; Lord Corn- 
wall is was to sail from Cork, Ireland, with seven regiments 
of British regulars escorted by a fleet of seventy-two sail 
under command of Sir Peter Parker, and Sir Henry Clinton 


was to sail from Boston with 2,000 regulars and take com- 
mand of the combined forces, which were to effect a junction 
at Wilmington about the middle of February. On January 3, 
1776, Martin received dispatches from Lord Dartmouth in- 
forming him that his plan had been heartily approved; that 
Clinton and Cornwallis had received their orders accordinglv, 

O •/ 7 

and that he might proceed with his part of the program. 
Accordingly he promptly issued commissions to Donald Mac- 
Donald, a veteran of Culloden whom Clinton had sent from 
Boston to take command of the North Carolina Highlanders ; 
to Allan MacDonald, husband of the Scottish heroine, Flora 
MacDonald, and to twenty-four others in Cumberland, Anson, 
Chatham, Guilford, Orange, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Surry and 
Bute counties, empowering them to raise and organize troops 
and ordering them to press down on Brunswick by February 
15th. A few davs later he received word that the Lovalists 
were in high spirits, were fast collecting, and were well 
equipped with wagons and horses. They planned to leave 
1,000 men at Cross Creek and with the remainder to march at 
once upon Wilmington; the governor might feel assured 
that they would place that rebellious town in his possession by 
February 25th at the latest. On February 18th, 1,600 Highland- 
ers, led by Donald MacDonald, encouraged by the presence 
and the stirring words of Flora MacDonald herself, with bag- 
pipes playing and the royal standard flying in their midst, 
marched gaily out of Cross Creek and took the Brunswick 
road for Wilmington. Upon receiving information of this 
movement, Governor Martin with the men-of-war which were 
stationed at the mouth of the Cape Fear moved up the river 
and dropped anchor opposite Wilmington to be ready to sup- 
port his friends. 

In the meantime the Whig leaders had not been inactive. 
Colonel James Moore of the First Regiment of Continentals 
had been closely watching the movements of the Highlanders 
and was fully informed of their plans. On February 15th lie 
took a position on the southern bank of Rockfish Creek, where 
he was soon joined by enough minute-men under James 
Kenan, Alexander Lillington and John Ashe to raise his little 
army to 1,100 men. Colonel Alexander Martin was approach- 
ing with a small force from Guilford County ; Colonel James 
Thackston with another small force was hastening from the 
southwest, and Colonel Richard Caswell was on the march 
with 800 militia from the New Bern District. Moore was in 

Vol. 1—25 


supreme command and directed the movements of all these 

On February 19th MacDonald approached to within four 
miles of Moore's encampment on Rockfish Creek. Now began 
a series of movements in which Moore out-generaled Mac- 
Donald, displayed military capacity of a high order and 
clearly won the honors of the campaign. Some years later a 
dispute arose among the friends of Alexander Lillington and 
Richard Caswell as to which of the two was due the credit of 
the victory over the Highlanders. It has since taken its place 
along with Alamance and Mecklenburg among the historic 
controversies in our annals. The truth is that the real hero 
of Moore's Creek Bridge was neither Lillington nor Caswell, 
but Moore. This is said without any purpose to detract from 
the just fame of either of those eminent patriots. Their work 
was plain and could be seen of all men; Moore's part in the 
campaign, owing to his absence from the scene of the actual 
fighting, was not so evident and can not be understood without 
a careful study of the events of the week preceding the battle. 
It was he who directed the movements which on the morning 
of February 27th brought Caswell, Lillington and Ashe with 
1,100 minute-men face to face with MacDonald 's 1,600 High- 
landers at Moore's Creek Bridge, eighteen miles above Wil- 

On the afternoon of February 26th, in obedience to Moore's 
directions, Caswell took up a position at the west end of 
Moore's Creek Bridge, toward which MacDonald was ap- 
proaching, while Ashe and Lillington held the east end. About 
daybreak the following morning MacDonald reached within 
striking distance of Caswell's camp, expecting to find him 
with the creek in his rear between his forces and those of 
Lillington and Ashe. But in the night Caswell, leaving his 
campfires burning, as Washington afterwards did at Trenton, 
(a fact which Caswell's friends commented on at the time), 
crossed the bridge and joined Lillington and Ashe. He then 
had the planks of the bridge removed, leaving only the sills 
in place. The Highlanders having formed for the attack on 
the west bank of the stream w T ere greatly surprised when they 
marched into a deserted camp and immediately concluded that 
the enemy had fled. Leading his troops, Donald McLeod, who 
commanded, MacDonald being too ill to take the field, reached 
the bridge while it was still dark. "Who goes there?" chal- 
lenged Caswell's sentinel. "A friend," replied McLeod. "A 
friend to whom?" answered the voice in the darkness. "To 


the king," replied the Highlander. Receiving no further 
reply and thinking the challenge might have come from one 
of his friends, McLeod called out in Gaelic. Still no answer. 
Raising his gun, he fired toward the spot whence the voice 
came and made a dash across the bridge. The Whigs fired 
and McLeod fell. Those who attempted to follow him were 
cut down and fell into the creek below. More than thirty of 
the bravest were shot down. The others losing heart, shame- 
fully abandoned their sick general and fled. The victory 
could not have been more complete. Of the Whigs only one 
man was killed and one wounded. The total loss of the High- 
landers in killed and wounded was estimated at fifty. Their 
army was completely scattered. Moore arriving on the field 
shortly after the battle pressed the pursuit so vigorously that 
350 guns, 150 swords and dirks, 1,500 excellent rifles, a box 
containing £15,000 sterling, 13 wagons, 850 soldiers and many 
officers, including their commanding general, fell into his 
hands. Two days after the victory Caswell reported it to 
President Harnett of the Provincial Council and on March 2d 
Colonel Moore sent to him a more detailed account of the cam- 
paign. Both these reports were widely published throughout 
the colonies and everywhere encouraged the advocates of inde- 

Martin's plan for the subjugation of the province was 
excellent, but it failed because the Loyalists were too eager 
and the regulars were not eager enough. During the month 
of February, while the ill-fated Highlanders were marching 
to their doom at Moore's Creek Bridge, Sir Henry Clinton, 
with the two thousand regulars he was to bring from Boston, 
was leisurely coasting southward, now calling at New York 
for a talk with former Governor Tryon, now peeping in at 
Chesapeake Bay to pass the time of day with Governor Dun- 
more; while Sir Peter Parker, whose fleet was to bear Lord 
Cornwallis' seven regiments to the Cape Fear, was still 
lingering at Cork. Consequently when Clinton finally arrived 
at Cape Fear in April and Cornwallis in May, they found 
that they were too late. The Highlanders rising prematurely 
had been crushed, and the Americans forewarned were under 
arms in large numbers. Clinton therefore dared not attempt 
a landing, and after wasting more than a month plundering 
the plantations of prominent Whig leaders along the Cape 
Fear, weighed anchor and set sail for Charleston. With him 
sailed Josiah Martin, the last royal governor of North Caro- 


The victory at Moore's Creek Bridge was the crowning 
achievement of the Provincial Council. But for the sleepless 
vigilance and resourceful energy of President Harnett and 
his colleagues in organizing, arming and equipping the troops, 
MacDonald's march down the Cape Fear would have been 
but a holiday excursion. As it was, the royal governor had 
again measured strength with the people and again was 
beaten. High ran the enthusiasm of the Whigs, and high 
their confidence. Ten thousand men sprang to arms and hur- 
ried to Wilmington. "Since I was born," wrote an eye wit- 
ness, "I never heard of so universal an ardor for fighting 
and so perfect a union among all degrees of men." Clinton 
and Cornwallis came with their powerful armaments, but find- 
ing no Loyalist force to welcome them at Cape Fear, they 
sailed away to beat in vain at the doors of Charleston. The 
victory at Moore's Creek Bridge saved North Carolina from 
conquest, and in all probability postponed the conquest of 
Georgia and South Carolina for three more years. Of this 
victory Bancroft wrote: "In less than a fortnight, more than 
nine thousand four hundred men of North Carolina rose 
against the enemy; and the coming of Clinton inspired no ter- 
ror. Almost every man was ready to turn out at an 
hour's warning. Virginia offered assistance, and 
South Carolina would gladly have contributed relief; but 
North Carolina had men enough of her own to crush insur- 
rection and guard against invasion; and as they marched in 
triumph through their piney forests, they were persuaded that 
in their own woods they could win an easy victory over Brit- 
ish regulars. The terrors of a fate like that of Norfolk could 
not dismay the patriots of Wilmington; the people spoke 
more and more of independence; and the Provincial Con- 
gress, at its impending session, was expected to give an 
authoritative form to the prevailing desire." 3 

History of the United States, ed. 1860, Vol. VIII, p. 289. 


''Moore's Creek was the Rubicon over which North Caro- 
lina passed to independence and constitutional self-govern- 
ment." Before that event the Whig leaders had rather 
dreaded than sought independence. They met with indignant 
denial the assertions of their enemies that they had aimed 
at it from the beginning of their dispute with the mother 
country. Perhaps they did not foresee as clearly as the Tories 
did the logical result of their contentions. At any rate, they 
approached independence slowly, through a long process of 
development, and finally adopted it, as emancipation was 
afterwards adopted, as a war measure. Officially North Caro- 
lina led the way with the first resolution adopted by any of 
the colonies authorizing their delegates in the Continental 
Congress to vote for independence. It seems proper, there- 
fore, to trace briefly the rise and development of the senti- 
ment for independence in North Carolina, and to point out 
what influence the action of the North Carolina Congress had 
in other colonies. 

It cannot be said that the sentiment for independence 
"originated" in any particular place. It was a growth and 
was present, perhaps unconsciously, in the minds of political 
thinkers and leaders long before England's policy crystal- 
lized it into conscious thought. Academic discussions of the 
possibility of an independent American nation were not un- 
common, either in Europe or America, for many years before 
the Revolution; but it is safe to say that the idea took no defi- 
nite shape even in the minds of the most advanced thinkers 
until after the struggle over the Stamp Act. The principles 
upon which the Americans opposed the Stamp Act had been 
regarded in the colonies as so firmly fixed, both by the British 
Constitution and by the colonial charters, that they were as- 
tonished to find them seriously questioned. Adherence to 
their charters and resistance to their perversion were car- 
dinal principles with North Carolinians throughout their 




colonial history, and their records for a hundred years before 
the passage of the Stamp Act are full of the assertions of the 
principles upon which the American Revolution was fought. 

The ministry, therefore, no sooner asserted the constitu- 
tional authority of Parliament to levy internal taxes in the 
colonies than the people of North Carolina denied it. Their 
contest, however, before the outbreak of hostilities was for 
constitutional government within the British Empire, though 
a few far-sighted leaders soon began to think of independence 
as possibly the ultimate solution of their political troubles 
with the mother country. Among the leaders of North Caro- 
lina who foresaw it, first place must be assigned to William 
Hooper. On April 26, 1774, in a letter to James Iredell, 
Hooper made this remarkable forecast of the political tenden- 
cies of the time : 

''With you I anticipate the important share which the 
Colonies must soon have in regulating the political balance. 
They are striding fast to independence, and ere long will 
build an empire upon the ruins of Great Britain, will adopt 
its constitution purged of its impurities, and from an experi- 
ence of its defects will guard against those evils which have 
wasted its vigor and brought it to an untimely end." 

In the same prophetic vein, Samuel Johnston, writing Sep- 
tember 23, 1774, with reference particularly to the Declara- 
tory Act and the Boston Port Bill, said: "It is useless, in 
disputes between different Countries, to talk about the right 
which one has to give Laws to the other, as that generally 
attends the power, tho' where that power is wantonly or 
cruelly exercised, there are Instances where the weaker state 
has resisted with Success; for when once the Sword is 
drawn all nice distinctions fall to the Ground; the difference 
between internal and external taxation will be little attended 
to, and it will hereafter be considered of no consequence 
whether the Act be to regulate Trade or raise a fund to sup- 
port a majority in the House of Commons. By this desperate 
push the Ministry will either confirm their power of making 
Laws to bind the Colonies in all cases whatsoever, or give up 
the right of making Laws to bind them in any Case." 

These utterances, however, expressed political judgment 
rather than sentiment, for neither Hooper nor Johnston at 
that time desired independence. Nor did their judgment ex- 
press the general sentiment of the colony. This sentiment 
found more accurate expression in the proceedings of the 
local meetings which were held in the various counties during 


the summer of 1774 to elect delegates to the Provincial Con- 
gress, and to adopt instructions to them. They invariably 
required the delegates to take a firm stand for the constitu- 
tional rights of the colonists, but at the same time professed 
the utmost loyalty to the king; while in August the Provincial 
Congress spoke for the province as a whole when it resolved 
to ''maintain and defend the succession of the House of Han- 
over as by law established," and avowed "inviolable and un- 
shaken Fidelity" to George III. But while these expressions 
undoubtedly represent the general sentiment of the colony at 
that time, they are less significant than other utterances which 
point to the change unconsciously working in the minds of 
men. Significant were the instructions of Pitt County, whose 
delegates were directed to make "a declaration of American 
rights, ' : and, while acknowledging "due subjection to the 
Crown of England," to make it equally clear that in submit- 
ting to the authority of the king, the Americans did so "by 
their own voluntary act," and were entitled to enjoy "all 
their free chartered rights and libertys as British free sub- 
jects." But surpassing all other resolutions in the clearness 
and accuracy with which they stated the American idea, and 
reaching the most advanced ground attained in North Caro- 
lina during the year 1774, were the instructions of Granville 
County, adopted August 15th. They declared ' ' that those ab- 
solute rights we are entitled to as men, by the immutable Laws 
of Nature, are antecedent to all social and relative duties what- 
soever ; that by the civil compact subsisting between our King 
and His People, Allegiance is right of the first Magistrate, 
and protection the right of the People; that a violation of 
this Compact would rescind the civil Institution binding both 
King and People together. ' ' 

Political sentiment in North Carolina, therefore, during 
the year 1774 reached this point: The people owe and ac- 
knowledge allegiance to the king, but in return for this al- 
legiance the king owes protection to the people; if either 
violates the "civil compact" subsisting between them, the 
other is released from all obligations to maintain it; however, 
the acts of which the people now complain are not the acts 
of the king, but of a corrupt Parliament and a venal and 
tyrannical ministry; the people are convinced that the king, 
if only they could reach his royal ears with their grievances, 
would throw the mantle of his protection around them; and 
therefore they determined, in the words of the Granville reso- 
lutions : "Although we are oppressed, we will still adhere 


to the civil Obligation exacting our allegiance to the best of 
Kings, as we entertain a most cordial affection to His Maj- 
esty's Person." 

A severe blow was dealt this position with the opening of 
the year 1775. In February the two houses of Parliament 
presented an address to the king declaring the colonies in 
rebellion, and assuring his majesty of their determination 
to support him in his efforts to suppress it; and the king 
returning his thanks for their loyal address, called for an in- 
crease of both the land and naval forces to be used in America. 
A few months later those who held that the king was not 
responsible for the acts of Parliament were still further 
shaken in their position by the announcement that he was 
hiring Hessians for service against the Americans; and in 
October they were driven completely from their ground by 
his proclamation declaring the colonists out of his protection. 

The effect of these measures on the development of senti- 
ment for independence is marked, first in the opinion of indi- 
vidual leaders, afterwards in the utterances of public assem- 
blies. On April 7th, just after the adjournment of the second 
Provincial Congress and the dissolution of the last Assembly 
held under royal authority, Governor Martin, in a letter to 
Lord Dartmouth declared that the royal government in North 
Carolina was absolutely prostrate and impotent; that "noth- 
ing but the shadow of it is left," and that unless strong meas- 
ures were taken at once "there will not long remain a trace 
of Britain's dominion over these colonies." Three months 
later Joseph Hewes urged Samuel Johnston to use his in- 
fluence and example to "drive every principle of Toryism" 
out of every part of the province ; he considered himself ' ' over 
head and ears in what the ministry call Rebellion," but felt 
"no compunction" for the part he had taken, or for the num- 
ber of "our enemies lately slain in the battle at Bunkers Hill." 
Another North Carolina Whig, writing July 31st to a busi- 
ness house in Edinburgh, declared that "every American, to 
a man, is determined to die or be free," and closed his letter 
with the warning: "This Country, without some step is 
taken, and that soon, will be inevitably lost to the Mother 
Country." Thomas McKnight, a Tory, believed there had 
been "from the beginning of the dispute, a fixed design in 
some peoples breasts to throw off every connection with 
G [i-eat; 1 B[ritain] and to act for the future as totally inde- 
pendent." After the king's proclamation in October, Hewes 
at Philadelphia entertained "but little expectation of a recon- 


ciliation" and saw ''scarcely a dawn of hope that it will take 
place"; and thought that independence would come soon "if 
the British ministry pursue their present diabolical scheme." 
The year 1775 closed in North Carolina with the publication 
of a remarkable open letter to "The Inhabitants of the United 
Colonies" by one who called himself "A British American." 
He declared that the salvation of the colonies lay in "declaring 
an immediate independency," in "holding forth, to all the 
Powers of Europe, a general neutrality," and in "immedi- 
ately opening all our ports, and declaring them free to every 
European Power, except Great Britain." "We must separ- 
ate," he concluded, "or become the laboring slaves of Britain, 
which we disdain to be. ' ' 

Men of course are more radical in expressing their 
opinions in private than in public assemblies and official docu- 
ments. It will be found, therefore, that during the year 1775 
the sentiment of public assemblies, though much in advance 
of the sentiment of 1774, was more conservatively expressed 
than the private opinions of the leaders might lead us to ex- 
pect. On April 6, 1775, the Assembly of the province, in reply 
to a message from the governor reminding them of their duty 
"to the king, declared that "the Assembly of North Carolina 
have the highest sense of the allegiance due to the King; the 
Oath so repeatedly taken by them to that purpose made 
it unnecessary for them to be reminded of it"; at the same 
time, however, they called the governor's attention to the 
fact that the king "was by the same Constitution which 
established that allegiance and enjoined that oath, happily for 
his Subjects, solemnly bound to protect them in all their just 
rights and privileges by which a reciprocal duty became in- 
cumbent upon both. ' ' 

This declaration was made before the people had heard 
of the address of Parliament in Februarv and the king's 
reply declaring them in rebellion. How quickly they as- 
sumed that the withdrawal of protection by the sovereign re- 
leased the subject from the obligations of allegiance is made 
manifest by the Mecklenburg Resolutions of May 31. "Where- 
as," so runs this striking document, "by an address presented 
to his majesty by both Houses of Parliament in February 
last, the American colonies are declared to be in a state of 
actual rebellion, we conceive that all laws and commissions 
confirmed by or derived from the authority of the King and 
Parliament are annulled and vacated and the former civil 
constitution of these colonies for the present wholly sus- 


pended;" therefore, it was resolved that "the Provincial 
Congress of each Province under the direction of the great 
Continental Congress is invested with all legislative and 
executive powers within their respective Provinces and that 
no other legislative or executive power does or can exist at 
this time in any of these colonies." Under these circum- 
stances it was thought necessary to inaugurate a new county 
government, to organize the militia, and to elect officials "who 
shall hold and exercise their several powers by virtue of this 
choice and independent of the Crown of Great Britain and 
former constitution of this Province." These resolves and 
this organization were declared to be "in full force and virtue 
until instructions from the Provincial Congress regulating 
the jurisprudence of the Province shall provide otherwise or 
the legislative body of Great Britain resign its unjust and 
arbitrary pretensions with respect to America." 1 

The day after the meeting at Charlotte, the Rowan com- 
mittee, which had declared a year before that they were ready 
to die in defense of the king's title to his American dominions, 
resolved "that by the Constitution of our Government we 
are a free People"; that the constitution "limits both Sov- 
ereignty and Allegiance," and "that it is our Duty to Sur-* 
render our lives, before our Constitutional privileges to any 
set of Men upon earth;" and referred any who might be of 

1 An attempt twenty-five years later to reproduce these resolves 
from memory resulted in the document famous in the controversial 
literature of the Revolution as the "Mecklenburg Declaration of In- 
dependence" of May 20, 1775. It is not necessary to refer to this 
controversy here further than to vindicate the statesmanship of the 
Mecklenburg patriots from the suspicion of having promulgated so 
absurd a declaration. For what, indeed, could be more absurd than 
a declaration of independence and assertion of sovereignty by a single 
county while in the same breath acknowledging its subordination 
to a Continental Congress which at that very moment was sincerely 
protesting the utmost loyalty to the Crown and earnestly exerting 
itself to restore the colonies to their former relations to the mother 
country? When the time came to act, even the Provincial Congress 
did not venture to declare the province itself independent but re- 
ferred the question to the Continental Congress where it properly 
belonged. It is no credit to either the patriotism or the statesmanship 
of the Mecklenburg patriots, representing a mere artificial adminis- 
trative unit dependent for its very existence upon the provincial au- 
thority, to suppose that in such a grave matter they would assume 
to do what the Provincial Congress did not consider itself competent 
to do. On the other hand the course which they actually pursued, 
viz., the setting up of a county government to take the place of that 
which had been annulled until the proper authority, the Provincial 
Congress, should provide otherwise, was a wise and statesmanlike pro- 
cedure which reflects credit upon their wisdom and patriotism alike. 


a different opinion to "the Compact on which the Constitution 
is founded." And, finally, in August, just before the meeting- 
of the Provincial Congress, Tryon County resolved to bear 
true allegiance to the king, but only "so long as he secures 
to us those Rights and Liberties which the principles of Our 
Constitution require." 

Thus it seems clear that when the Provincial Congress 
met in August, 1775, the entire province had reached the ad- 
vanced ground on which Granville County stood in August of 
1774. But just as these local assemblies were more conserva- 
tive in expressing their sentiments than individuals, so the 
Provincial Congress was more conservative than the local 
assemblies, though both were controlled largely by the same 
men. This Congress, September 8, unanimously adopted an 
address to "The Inhabitants of the British Empire," in which 
they said : 

"To enjoy the Fruits of our own honest Industry; to call 
that our own which we earn with the labour of our hands and 
the sweat of our Brows; to regulate that internal policy by 
which we and not they [Parliament] are to be affected; these 
are the mighty Boons we ask. And Traitors, Rebels, and 
every harsh appellation that Malice can dictate or the Viru- 
lence of language express, are the returns which we receive 
to the most humble Petitions and earnest supplications. We 
have been told that Independance is our object ; that we seek 
to shake off all connection with the parent State. Cruel Sug- 
gestion! Do not all our professions, all our actions, uni- 
formly contradict this? 

"We again declare, and we invoke that Almighty Being 
who searches the Recesses of the human heart and knows our 
most secret Intentions, that it is our most earnest wish and 
prayer to be restored with the other United Colonies to the 
State in which we and they were placed before the year 1763." 

Soon after the adjournment of this Congress came news 
of the king's proclamation in October declaring the Americans 
out of his protection and commanding his armies and navy to 
lew war against them. After this nothing more is heard from 
public assemblies and conventions of loyalty to the Crown. 
Sentiment hastened rapidly toward independence. "My first 
wish is to be free," declared Hooper, a delegate in the Con- 
tinental Congress; " my second to be reconciled to Great Brit- 
ain." Eight days later, February 14, 1776, John Penn, also 
a delegate in the Continental Congress, urged the necessity 
of forming alliances with foreign countries although he fore- 


saw that "the consequences of making alliances is perhaps a 
total separation with Britain. ' : And Hewes, writing from 
Congress to Samuel Johnston, March 20, declared: "I see 
no prospect of a reconciliation. Nothing is left now but to 
fight it out. * Some among us urge strongly for Inde- 

pendency and eternal separation." 

Thus spoke the three delegates in the Continental Con- 
gress ; but in no respect were they in advance of their con- 
stituents. Samuel Johnston in March, 1776, thought it 
"highly probable that the Colonies will be under the 

necessity of throwing off their Allegiance to the K[ing] and 
P[arliament] of Gr[reat] B[ritain] this Summer," and reply- 
ing to Hewes' letter of March 20th, said: "I have apprehen- 
sions that no foreign power will treat with us till we disclaim 
our dependancy on Great Britain and I would wish to have as- 
surances that they would afford us effectual Service before 
we take that step. I have, I assure you, no other Scruples 
on this head ; the repeated Insults and Injuries we have re- 
ceived from the people of my Native Island has [sic] done 
away all my partiality for a Connection with them." On 
April 12, 1776, eight days after the fourth Provincial Con- 
gress convened at Halifax, in a letter written from Peters- 
burg, Virginia, the writer says: "From several letters I have 
received from North Carolina since that convention met, I 

find the} 7 are for independence. Mr. was some 

little time at Halifax. He says they are quite spirited and 
unanimous; indeed, I hear nothing praised but 'Common 
Sense' and Independence." 

On April 14, Hooper and Penn arrived at Halifax from 
Philadelphia to attend the Provincial Congress. Three days 
later Hooper wrote to Hewes. who had remained at Phila- 
delphia, and Penn wrote to John Adams, describing the situa- 
tion as they found it in Virginia and North Carolina. "The 
Language of Virginia, ' : wrote Hooper, "is uniformly for 
Independence. If there is a single man in the province who 
preaches a different doctrine I had not the fortune to fall 
in his Company. But rapid as the change has been 
in Virginia, North Carolina has the honour of going far 
before them. Our late Instructions afford you some speci- 
men of the temper of the present Congress and of the 
people at large. It would be more than unpopular, it would 
be Toryism, to hint the possibility of future reconciliation." 
Likewise wrote Penn: "As I came through Virginia I found 
the inhabitants desirous to be independent from Britain. 


However, they were willing to submit their opinion on the sub- 
ject to whatever the General Congress should determine. 
North Carolina by far exceeds them occasioned by the great 
fatigue, trouble and danger the people here have undergone 
for some time past. Gentlemen of the first fortune in the 
province have inarched as common soldiers ; and to encourage 
and give spirit to the men have footed it the whole time. 
Lord Cornwallis with seven regiments is expected to visit us 
every day. Clinton is now in Cape Fear with Governor 
Martin, who has about forty sail of vessels, armed and un- 
armed, waiting his arrival. The Highlanders and Regulators 
are not to be trusted. Governor Martin has coaxed a number 
of slaves to leave their masters in the lower parts; every- 
thing base and wicked is practiced by him. These things 
have wholly changed the temper and disposition of the in- 
habitants that are friends to liberty; all regard or fondness 
for the king or nation of Britain is gone ; a total separation 
is what they want. Independence is the word most used. 
They ask if it is possible that any colony after what has 
passed can wish for a reconciliation? The convention have 
tried to get the opinion of the people at large. I am told 
that in many counties there was not one dissenting voice. ' : 

Thus in letters, in conversations by the fireside and at the 
cross-roads, in newspapers, and in public assemblies, the 
Whig leaders worked steadily to mould public sentiment in 
favor of a Declaration of Independence. But the crowning- 
arguments that converted thousands to this view were the 
guns of Caswell and Lillington at Moore's Creek Bridge in 
the early morning hours of February 27, and the black hulks 
of Sir Henry Clinton's men-of-war as they rode at anchor 
below Brunswick. Moore's Creek Bridge, says Frothingham, 
"was the Lexington and Concord of that region. The news- 
papers circulated the details of this brilliant result. The 
spirits of the Whigs ran high. 'You never,' one wrote, 'knew 
the like in your life for true patriotism.' " 2 In the midst of 
this excitement the Provincial Congress met, April 4, at Hali- 
fax. The next day Samuel Johnston wrote: "All our people 
here are up for independence," and added a few days later: 
"We are going to the Devil without knowing how 

to help ourselves, and though many are sensible of this, ye1 
they would rather go that way than to submit to the British 
Ministry. * * * Our people are full of the idea of inde- 

- Rise of the Republic, p. 503. 


pendance. " "Independence seems to be the word," wrote 
General Robert Howe; "I know not one dissenting voice." 

To this position, then, within a year, the king had driven 
his faithful subjects of North Carolina and they now expected 
their Congress to give formal and public expression to their 
sentiments. When Hooper and Penn arrived at Halifax they 
found that the Congress had already spoken. On April 8, 
a committee was appointed, composed of Cornelius Harnett, 
Allen Jones, Thomas Burke, Abner Nash, John Kinehen, 
Thomas Person, and Thomas Jones, "to take into considera- 
tion the usurpations and violences attempted and committed 
by the King and Parliament of Britain against America, and 
the further measures to be taken for frustrating the same, 
and for the better defense of this Province. " After deliberat- 
ing four days, on April 12th, this committee, through its 
chairman, Cornelius Harnett, submitted the following report 
which the Congress unanimously adopted : 

"It appears to your committee, that pursuant to the plan 
concerted by the British Ministry for subjugating America, 
the King and Parliament of Great Britain have usurped a 
power over the persons and properties of the people unlimited 
and uncontrolled ; and disregarding their humble petitions 
for peace, liberty and safety, have made divers legislative 
acts, denouncing war, famine, and every species of calamity, 
against the Continent in general. That British fleets and 
armies have been, and still are daily employed in destroying 
the people, and committing the most horrid devastations on 
the county. That Governors in different Colonies have de- 
clared protection to slaves who should imbrue their hands 
in the blood of their masters. That ships belonging to Amer- 
ica are declared prizes of war, anS many of them have been 
violently seized and confiscated. In consequence of all which 
multitudes of the people have been destroyed, or from easy 
circumstances reduced to the most lamentable distress. 

"And whereas the moderation hitherto manifested by the 
United Colonies and their sincere desire to be reconciled to 
the mother country on constitutional principles, have procured 
no mitigation of the aforesaid wrongs and usurpations, and 
no hopes remain of obtaining redress by those means alone 
which have been hitherto tried, your committee are of opinion 
that the House should enter into the following resolve, to wit: 

"Resolved, That the delegates for this Colony in the Con- 
tinental Congress be impowered to concur with the delegates 
of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and forming 


foreign alliances, reserving to this Colony the sole and ex- 
clusive right of forming a Constitution and laws for this 
Colony, and of appointing delegates from time to time (under 
the direction of a general representation thereof,) to meet 
the delegates of the other Colonies for such purposes as shall 
be hereafter pointed out. ' ' 

"Thus," declares Frothingham, "the popular party car- 
ried North Carolina as a unit in favor of independence, when 
the colonies from New England to Virginia were in solid 
array against it." 3 Comment is unnecessary. The actors, 
the place, the occasion, the time, the action itself, tell their own 
story. "The American Congress," declared Bancroft, 
"needed an impulse from the resolute spirit of some colonial 
convention, and the example of a government springing wholly 
from the people. * * The word which South Carolina 

hesitated to pronounce was given by North Carolina. That 
colony, proud of its victory over domestic enemies, and roused 
to defiance by the presence of Clinton, the British general, 
in one of their rivers, * * unanimously" voted for sep- 

aration. "North Carolina was the first colony to vote explicit 
sanction to independence. ' ' 4 

A copy of the resolution was immediately dispatched to 
Joseph Hewes at Philadelphia to be laid before the Contin- 
ental Congress. Its effect on the movement for independence 
was immediate and wide-spread. The newspapers gave it 
wide publicity. Leaders in the Continental Congress has- 
tened to lay it before their constituents. "I hope it will be 
forthwith communicated to your honorable Assembly," wrote 
Elbridge Gerry, "and hope to see my native colony follow 
this laudable example. " To a like effect wrote Samuel Adams, 
John Adams, and Caesar Eodney. On May 15th, Virginia 
followed North Carolina's lead, and on the 27th of the same 
month, just after Joseph Hewes had presented to the Con- 
tinental Congress the resolution of the North Carolina Con- 
gress, the Virginia delegates presented their instructions. 
Virginia had gone one step further than North Carolina, for 
while the latter "impowered" her delegates to "concur" 
with the other colonies in declaring independence, the former 
"instructed" her representatives to "propose" it. Hence it 
was that Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, and not Joseph 
Hewes, of North Carolina, won the distinction of moving 

3 Rise of the Republic, p. 504. 

4 History of the United States, ed. 1860, Vol. VTTT, p. 345-352. 


"that these United Colonies are and of right ought to be free 
and independent States." 

Lee's motion was made June 7th, but no vote was taken on 
it until July 1st. On June 28th, John Penn who had recently 
returned to Philadelphia from Halifax wrote to Samuel John- 
ston: "The first of July will be made remarkable. Then the 
question relative to independence will be agitated, and there 
is no doubt but a total separation from Britain will take 
place." Accordingly on July 1st, the Congress, meeting in 
committee of the whole, took a vote with New Hampshire, 
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, 
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia voting in 
the affirmative. The New York delegates personally favored 
the Declaration and believed that their constituents also 
favored it, but they were bound by an old instruction of the 
previous year against independence; accordingly they with- 
drew from Congress, declining to vote at all. Delaware's two 
delegates were divided and the vote of that colony was lost. 
Only South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted against it. It 
was known, however, that the New York Convention which was 
to meet soon would repeal the old instruction and declare for 
independence; and that certain delegates from Delaware and 
Pennsylvania who favored it but were absent when the vote 
was taken would attend next day and carry their colonies for 
it. Thus South Carolina was alone in opposition. There- 
fore when the committee of the whole arose and reported the 
resolution to Congress, Edward Rutledge, the senior delegate 
from South Carolina, "requested the determination might 
be put off to the next day, as he believed his colleagues, 
though they disapproved of the resolution, would then join 
in it for the sake of unanimity." 5 The request was granted. 
The next day a third member from Delaware and members 
from Pennsylvania who favored the Declaration attended. 
New York still declined to vote. When Congress met on Julv 
2, therefore, South Carolina "for the sake of unanimity" 
changed her vote and joined with her sister colonies in de- 
claring the United Colonies "free and independent States. ' : 
The final draft of the Declaration was laid before Congress 
on July 4th and formally adopted. It was signed in behalf of 
the State of North Carolina by William Hooper, Joseph 
Hewes, and John Penn. 

After adopting the Resolution of April 12th, the Congress 

5 Jefferson's Notes in Works, Memorial Edition, Vol. XY, p. 199. 


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Vol. 1—26 


of North Carolina, proceeding as if independence were an ac- 
complished fact, immediately took up the task of reorganizing 
the government. On April 13th a committee was appointed 
"to prepare a temporary Civil Constitution." Prominent 
among the members of this committee were Johnston, Nash, 
Harnett, Burke, and Person. Hooper was afterwards added. 
They were men of political sagacity and ability, but their 
ideas of the kind of constitution that ought to be adopted were 
woefullv inharmonious. Heretofore in the measures of re- 
sistance to the British ministry remarkable unanimity had 
prevailed in the councils of the Whigs. But when they under- 
took to frame a constitution faction at once raised its head. 
In after years historians designated these factions as "Con- 
servatives" and "Radicals." These terms carry their own 
meaning, and need no further explanation, but perhaps it 
may not be out of place to say that while both were equally 
devoted to constitutional liberty, the Radicals seem to have 
laid the greater emphasis upon "liberty," the Conservatives 
upon the modifier "constitutional." Of the members of the 
committee, Thomas Person was the leader of the former, 
Samuel Johnston of the latter. As the lines between the two 
factions at that time were not sharply drawn, it is not always 
possible to assign prominent politicians to either; indeed, 
many of them would not have admitted that they belonged to 
any faction, or party, for agreeing with some of the views of 
both, they agreed with the extreme views of neither. 

The committee worked hard at its task. Its discussions 
were not always tempered with good feeling. "I must con- 
fess," wrote Johnston, April 17, "our prospects are at this 
time very gloomy. Our people are about forming a constitu- 
tion. From what I can at present collect of their plan, it will 
be impossible for me to take any part in the execution of it." 
In fact, the next day he withdrew from the committee in dis- 
gust, though later he was persuaded to reconsider his actiou. 
It should be remembered that many political policies which we 
now regard as elementary were then in their experimental 
stage. Should suffrage be universal, or should a property 
qualification be required? Should there be one, or two houses 
of legislation? Should the representatives of the people be 
chosen annually, and what check should be imposed upon their 
power over the rights of the people? How should the execu- 
tive branch of the government be constituted? How should 
the governor and other "great officers" be chosen and for 
what terms? Should the judges be elected by the people? Or 


chosen by the legislature? Or appointed by the executive? 
And what should be their tenure? Such were the questions 
that puzzled and divided our first constitution-makers. 

The more they discussed them, the more hopeless became 
their divisions. Congress finally found that no agreement 
could be reached, while continued debate on the constitution 
would consume time that ought to be given to more urgent 
matters. Accordingly on April 30th, the committee was dis- 
charged and a second committee appointed to frame "a tem- 
porary form of government until the end of the next Con- 
gress." This committee brought in a report on May 11th, 
which the Congress promptly adopted. But few changes were 
made in the plan already in operation, but these changes were 
not without significance. The district committees of safety 
were abolished. The term "Provincial" was thought to be 
no longer appropriate and "Council of Safety" was accord- 
ingly substituted for "Provincial Council." No change was 
made in its organization. The Provincial Council had been 
required to sit once in every three months ; the Council of 
Safety was to sit continuously, and its authority was con- 
siderably extended. All the powers of its predecessor were 
bequeathed to it, while among its additional powers was the 
authority to grant letters of marque and reprisal; to estab- 
lish courts and appoint judges of admiralty; and to appoint 
commissioners of navigation to enforce the trade regulations 
of the Continental and Provincial Congresses. 

The election of the members of the Council of Safety re- 
vealed the growth of factions. Willie Jones, chief of the 
Radicals, defeated Samuel Johnston for member at large. 
Other changes in the membership were as follows : in the 
New Bern District, John Simpson in place of Abner Nash ; in 
the Halifax District, Joseph John Williams in place of Willie 
Jones ; in the Hillsboro District, John Rand in place of John 
Kinchen; in the Salisbury District, Hezekiah Alexander and 
William Sharpe, both new members. Two only of the six dis- 
tricts retained their same members, Edenton District reelected 
Jones and Hill; Wilmington District, Harnett and Ashe. 
The other members who retained their seats were Coor, Eaton 
and Person. 

Such was the personnel of the Council that was to put 
into execution the measures of the Congress for the defense 
of the province. This was the most important business that 
came before Congress. Clinton with a large force of British 
regulars was at Cape Fear awaiting the arrival of Sir Peter 
Parker's fleet with Cornwallis' army. "Our whole time," 


wrote Thomas Jones, May 7, "lias been taken up here in 
raising and arming men, and making every necessary mili- 
tary arrangement. The word is war, or as Virgil expresses 
it, bella, horrida bella. Two thousand ministerial troops are 
in Cape Pear, 5,000 more hourly expected; to oppose the 
whole will require a large force." The Congress, accordingly, 
in addition to the troops already in the field, ordered the 
levying of four continental regiments, the enlistment of three 
companies of light-horse, the drafting of 1,500 militia, and 
the organization into five companies of 415 independent vol- 
unteers. The light-horse were offered to the Continental 
Congress and accepted; the militia were ordered to Wilming- 
ton "for the protection of this province;" and the independ- 
ent companies were .directed to patrol the coast against the 
ravages of small armed vessels which were accustomed in 
this way to secure fresh supplies for the troops below Wil- 

It was comparatively an easy matter to raise these troops ; 
to clothe, feed and equip them was another problem. It is of 
course, unnecessary to say that this was a problem that was 
not solved at all during the Revolution, either by the United 
Colonies or by any of them ; but perhaps North Carolina came 
as near to it as the former, or as any of the latter. This was 
the work which, during the year 1776, was entrusted to the 
Council of Safety. The Council held its first session at Wil- 
mington, June 5, and unanimously elected Cornelius Harnett 
president. Harnett served until August 21st when he resigned 
and was succeeded by his colleague, Samuel Ashe who re- 
signed in September and was succeeded by Willie Jones. 
Jones served until the meeting of the Constitutional Conven- 
tion in December which superseded the provisional govern- 
ment with a permanent government. 

An attempt to follow in detail the numerous problems pre- 
sented for the consideration of President Harnett and his 
colleagues would doubtless make but a dull and lifeless nar- 
rative. Yet upon the proper disposition of these matters 
depended the execution of laws, the administration of justice, 
the preservation of order, and the success of armies; and 
when we consider these facts, we may well doubt whether in 
subordinating such details to more dramatic and striking 
events, the narrative does not lose in instructiveness what it 
may gain in interest. The fidelity with which the members of 
the Council attended to the details of these problems is a good 
index to their characters and patriotism. Nothing less than 


boundless faith in the justice of their cause and in its ultimate 
success could have sustained them in the discharge of their 
delicate and exacting duties. There was nothing in the char- 
acter of their labor, such as the soldier finds in the excitement 
of the campaign, to lighten fatigue or banish anxiety. Nor 
were they, like the soldier, inspired by the hope of glory and 
renown; on the contrary their duties were of such a nature 
that to discharge them with fidelity and impartiality, would 
more likely invite criticism and denunciation than applause 
and popularity. There was no popular applause to be gained 
by even the strictest attention to the commonplace details in- 
cident to the detection, apprehension and punishment of 
rioters, counterfeiters, traitors and other malefactors. Little 
popularity was to be expected from efforts, however success- 
ful, to adjust disputes among army officers over their relative 
ranks ; to pass impartially upon applications for military and 
civil commissions; to hear and determine justly appeals for 
pardon and prayers for mercy ; to enforce rigid discipline 
among a mutinous soldiery; to execute martial law against 
former friends and neighbors whose only crime was refusal 
to join in rebellion and revolution ; to enforce without an ade- 
quate police obedience to a confessedly revolutionary govern- 
ment among those who denied its moral or legal right to rule. 
Whatever glory was to be won by successful military achieve- 
ments all knew well enough would go to the soldiers in the 
field, not to the councilors in the cabinet who, by grinding out 
their spirits and lives over the details of organizing and 
equipping armies, made such success possible. Nevertheless 
day and night, week in and week out, President Harnett 
and his associates with unfailing tact, patience and 
energy, and with remarkable success, gave conscientious 
and efficient attention to a thousand and one details as unin- 
spiring as they were necessary. 

The chief problems of the Council related to defense. The 
Indians on the frontier, the Tories of the interior, and Clinton 
on the coast threatened the province with attack from three 
directions. A few days before the Council met, Clinton with- 
drew from the Cape Fear River, but nobody knew where he 
had gone nor what his plans were, and all apprehended that 
his movement was but a change of base for an attack on North 
Carolina. Clinton did contemplate such a movement, but 
was frustrated by the activity of the committees and the 
Council. The Council's problem was to organize and equip 
the troops ordered to be raised by the Congress. The or- 


ganization was more tedious than difficult, but it required 
much time and labor. A harder task was to equip them. 
Even the utmost exertions of the Council could not keep the 
several arsenals sufficiently supplied to meet the constant 
calls on them for arms and ammunition. The Council con- 
tinued to press into public service arms found in private 
hands; they appointed commissioners to purchase warlike 
supplies; they imported them from other states; they manu- 
factured them; they purchased them in the North through 
the delegates in the Continental Congress; and they chartered 
vessels which they loaded with cargoes of staves and shingles 
to be exchanged for military supplies. The Polly, the Heart 
of Oak, the King Fisher, the Lilly, the Little Thomas, the 
Johnston, and other fast sailing vessels slipped through 
the inlets of Eastern Carolina, ran down to the West Indies, 
sold their cargoes of lumber, and eluding the British cruisers 
which patrolled those waters returned safely to Ocracoke, 
Edenton, and New Bern with cargoes of small arms, cannon, 
gunpowder, salt, clothes and shoes. Their enterprising crews, 
the prototypes of the more famous blockade-runners of later 
days, continued this work throughout the Revolution, and 
made no inconsiderable contributions to the cause of Ameri- 
can independence. The Council issued letters of marque and 
reprisal to the Pennsylvania Farmer, the King Tammany, 
the General Washington, the Heart of Oak, and the Johnston; 
and they organized courts of admiralty and appointed judges. 
They set up iron works for casting cannon and shot, and 
salt works for supplying that necessary article. In one way 
or another they managed to put into the field equipped for 
service 1,400 troops to aid in the defense of Charleston, 300 
militia to aid Virginia against the Indians, and an army of 
2,400 riflemen for a campaign against the Creeks and the 
Cherokee beyond the Alleghanies. 

The efforts to secure the neutrality of the Indians had 
failed. In the spring of 1776, while Clinton was on the coast, 
Cameron determined to stir up the Cherokee on the frontier. 
Under his leadership, the warriors of the Upper and Middle 
towns, with some Creeks and Tories of the vicinity, took up 
arms and laid waste the border far and wide. Aroused by 
their common danger, Virginia, North Carolina, South Caro- 
lina, and Georgia determined to strike a blow at the Cherokee 
that would compel them to remain passive during the struggle 
with England. Accordingly, during the summer of 1776 four 
expeditions were simultaneously launched against them from 


four different quarters. The North Carolina expedition of 
2,400 men was under command of General Griffith Rutherford. 
Crossing the Blue Ridge at Swannanoa. Gap in August he 
struck the first Indian town, Stikayi, on the Tuckasegee, and 
acting with vigor destroyed in rapid succession every town on 
the Tuckasegee, Oconaluftee, the upper part of the Little Ten- 
nessee, and on the Hiwassee to below the junction of Valley 
River. The Indians attempted resistance but were every- 
where defeated. Their most determined opposition was 
offered while Rutherford was passing through Waya Gap of 
the Nantahala Mountains. The invaders lost more than forty 
men, killed and wounded, before they put the red men to 
flight. Unable to offer further resistance the Cherokee fled to 
the fastnesses of the Great Smoky Mountains, leaving their 
crops and towns at the mercy of the enemy. All told Ruther- 
ford destroyed thirty-six towns and laid waste a vast stretch 
of the surrounding country. In the meantime Coloned Andrew 
Williamson with an army of 1,800 men from South Carolina 
was pushing up from the south through the Lower Towns, and 
on September 26, reached Hiwassee River, near the present 
town of Murphy, where he effected a junction with Ruther- 
ford; while Colonel William Christian, of Virginia, with a 
force of about 1,700 Virginians and 300 North Carolinians, 
was advancing from the north. 

The effect upon the Cherokee of this irruption of more than 
6,000 armed men into their territory was paralyzing. More 
than fifty of their towns were destroyed, their fields laid waste, 
their cattle and horses driven off, hundreds of their warriors 
killed, captured and sold into slavery, and their women and 
children driven to seek refuge in the recesses of the moun- 
tains. From the Virginia line to the Chattahoochee the 
destruction was complete, and the red men were compelled to 
sue for peace. Accordingly, at De Witts Corners in South 
Carolina, May 20, 1777, was concluded the first treaty ever 
made by the Cherokee with the new states. By its terms the 
Lower Cherokee surrendered all of their remaining territory 
in South Carolina except a small strip along the western bor- 
der. Two months later, July 20, at the Long Island in the 
Holston, Christian concluded a treaty with the Middle and 
Upper Cherokee by which they ceded everything east of the 
Blue Ridge, together with all the disputed territory on the 
Watauga, Nolichucky, upper Holston and New rivers. 

While Rutherford was engaged with the red men on the 
frontier, the Council of Safety were wrestling with a strong 


and energetic domestic enemy in the very heart of the State. 
The Tories of North Carolina, as the Council declared, were 
"a numerous body of people who, although lately sub- 

dued, are only waiting a more favorable opportunity to wreak 
their vengeance upon us." The Tories hoped and the Whigs 
feared that this opportunity would come through a British suc- 
cess either at Wilmington or at Charleston. Moore's Creek 
Bridge had warned the former of the folly of an uprising with- 
out the co-operation of the British army, and the result at 
Charleston dashed their hopes of an immediate insurrection. 
Nevertheless they regarded this as only a temporary setback 
which necessitated a postponement but not a surrender of 
their plans. Though forced to work more quietly, they seized 
every opportunity to undermine and counteract the work of 
the Council. The Council, therefore, were compelled to devote 
a large part of their time to the detection and punishment of 
these domestic enemies. Their active leaders were arrested 
and brought before the Council on such general charges as 
denouncing the Council and the committees for exercising 
arbitrary and tyrannical powers; as uttering " words inimical 
to the cause of liberty"; as endeavoring "to inflame the minds 
of the people against the present American measures"; as 
using their influence to prevent the people from "associating 
in the common cause.' 1 More specific charges were corres- 
pondence with the enemy; refusal to receive the continental 
currency; and efforts to depreciate both the continental and 
provincial bills of credit. The Council dealt with each case 
upon its individual merits. In a general way, however, they 
permitted those who were willing to subscribe the test and 
submit to the revolutionary government to remain at home 
unmolested. They "naturalized" prisoners captured in battle 
who expressed a willingness to take the oath of allegiance, 
and admitted them to the privileges of free citizens. Persons 
suspected of disaffection, but who had committed no overt act, 
were required to give bond for their good behavior. Those 
whose presence among their neighbors was regarded as dan- 
gerous were taken from their homes and paroled within pre- 
scribed limits ; while the most active leaders were imprisoned, 
some in North Carolina, some in Virginia and some in Phila- 
delphia. The last two methods of punishment in some cases 
worked real hardships and moving appeals were made to 
President Harnett for relaxations of the restrictions. 

While a majority of the cases that came before the Council 
involved the conduct of individuals only, a few instances were 


reported in which something like general disaffection ap- 
peared in a community. In such cases the Council acted with 
determination and vigor. Those whom they believed to have 
been led into disaffection through ignorance they undertook to 
instruct in "their duty to Almighty God," and to "the United 
States of America." But to those "who had been nursed up in 
the very bosom of the country," and yet "by their pre- 
tended neutrality declare themselves enemies to the Ameri- 
can Union," the Council offered but one course, — the 
pledge either of their property or their persons for their 
good behavior. On July 4, 1776, they directed the 
county committees to require under oath from all suspected 
persons inventories of their estates, and ordered the com- 
manding officers of the militia to arrest all who r