Brief Description of the Province of Carolina

An Electronic Edition · Robert Horne (17th century)

Original Source: Horne, Robert. A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina. Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708. Ed. Alexander Salley, Jr. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.

Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.

Full Colophon Information

A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina, on the Coasts of
Floreda, and more perticularly of a New Plantation begun by the English at Cape
Feare, on that River now by them called Charles-River, the 29th of May,

Wherein is set forth the Healthfulness of the Air; the Fertility of
the Earth, and Waters; and the great Pleasure and Profit will accrue to those
that shall go thither to enjoy the same. Also, Directions and advice to such as
shall go thither whether on their own accompts or to serve under another.
Together with a most accurate Map of the whole Province..

London, Printed for Robert Horne in the first Court of
Gresham-Colledge neer Bishopsgate-street.

A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina, Etc.

CAROLINA is a fair and spacious Province on the Continent of
America: so called in honour of His Sacred Majesty that now is, Charles the
Second, whom God preserve; and His Majesty hath been pleas’d to grant the same
to certain Honourable Persons, who in order to the speedy planting of the same,
have granted divers privileges and advantages to such as shall transport
themselves and Servants in convenient time; This Province lying so neer
Virginia, and yet more Southward, enjoys the fertility and advantages thereof;
and yet is so far distant, as to be freed from the inconstancy of the Weather,
which is a great cause of the unhealthfulness thereof; also, being in the
latitude of the Barmoodoes may expect the like healthfulness which it hath
hitherto enjoy’d, and doubtless there is no Plantation that ever the English
went upon, in all respects so good as this: for though Barmoodoes be wonderful
healthy and fruitful, yet is it but a Prison to the Inhabitants, who are much
streightned for want of room, and therefore many of them are come to Carolina,
and more intend to follow. There is seated in this Province two Colonies
already, one on the River Roanoak (now called Albemarle River) and borders on
Virginia; the Other at Cape Feare, two Degrees more Southerly; of which follows
a more perticular Description..

This Province of Carolina is situate on the main Continent of
America, between the degrees of 30. and 36. and hath on the North, the South
part of Virginia; on the South is bounded by the 30 degree of Latitude not yet
fully discovered; on the East is Mare Atlanticum, part of the great Ocean; and
on the West the wealthy South Sea is its Confines. .

The Perticular Description of Cape Feare.

In the midst of this fertile Province, in the Latitude of 34
degrees, there is a Colony of English seated, who Landed there the
29 of May, Anno 1664. and are in all about 800 persons, who have overcome all the
difficulties that attend the first attempts, and have cleered the way for those
that come after, who will find good houses to be in whilst their own are in
building; good forts to secure them from their enemies; and many things brought
from other parts there, increasing to their no small advantage. The entrance
into the River, now called Cape-Feare River, the situation of the Cape, and
trending of the Land, is plainly laid down to the eye in the Map annexed. The
River is barred at the entrance, but there is a Channel close abord the Cape
that will convey in safety a ship of 300 Tons, and as soon as a ship is over
the Bar, the River is 5 or 6 fathom deep for a 100 miles from the Sea; this Bar
is a great security to the Colony against a forreign Invasion, the channel
being hard to find by those that have not experience of it, and yet safe enough
to those that know it..

The Earth, Water, and Air.

The Land is of divers sorts as in all Countryes of the world, that
which lyes neer the Sea, is sandy and barren, but beareth many tall Trees,
which make good timber for several uses; and this sandy ground is by
experienced men thought to be one cause of the healthfulness of the place: but
up the River about 20 or 30 mile, where they have made a Town, called
Charles-Town, there is plenty of as rich ground as any in the world. It is a
blackish mold upon a red sand, and under that a clay, but in some places is
rich ground of a grayer colour, they have made Brick of the Clay, which proves
very good; and Lime they have also for building. The whole Country consists of
stately Woods, Groves, Marshes and Meadows; it abounds with variety of as brave
Okes as Eye can behold, great Bodies tall and streight from 60 to 80 foot,
before there be any Boughs, which with the little under-wood makes the Woods
very commodious to travel in, either on Horseback or a foot. In the barren
sandy ground grow most stately Pines, white and red Cedars, Ash, Birch, Holly,
Chesnut and Walnut-trees of great growth and very plentiful: There are many
sorts of fruit Trees, as Vines, Medlars, Peach, Wild Cherries, Mulbury-Trees,
and the Silk-worm breeding naturally on them, with many other Trees for Fruit
and for Building, for Perfume and for Medicine, for which the English have no
name; also several sorts of Dying Stuff, which may prove of great advantage;
The Woods are stored with Deer and Wild Turkeys, of a great magnitude, weighing
many times above 50l. a piece, and of a more
pleasant tast than in England, being in their proper climate; other sorts of
Beasts in the Woods that are good for food; and also Fowls, whose names are not
known to them. This is what they found naturally upon the place; but they have
brought with them most sorts of seeds and roots of the Barbadoes which thrive
very well, and they have Potatoes, and the other Roots and Herbs of Barbadoes
growing and thriving with them; as also from Virginia, Barmoodoes, and New
England, what they could afford: They have Indico, Tobacco very good, and
Cotton-wool; Lime-trees, Orange, Lemon, and other Fruit-Trees they brought,
thrive exceedingly: They have two Crops of Indian-Corn in one year, and great
increase every Crop; Apples, Pears, and other English fruit, grow there out of
the planted Kernels: The Marshes and Meadows are very large from 1500 to 3000
Acres, and upwards, and are excellent food for Cattle, and will bear any Grain
being prepared; some Cattle both great and small, which live well all the
Winter, and keep their fat without Fodder; Hogs find so much Mast and other
Food in the Woods, that they want no other care than a Swine-herd to keep them
from running wild. The Meadows are very proper for Rice, Rape-seed, Lin-seed,
etc., and may many of them be made to overflow at pleasure with a small charge.
Here are as brave Rivers as any in the World, stored with great abundance of
Sturgeon, Salmon, Basse, Plaice, Trout, and Spanish Mackrill, with many other
most pleasant sorts of Fish, both flat and round, for which the English Tongue
hath no name. Also, in the little Winter they have, abundance of Wild Geese,
Ducks, Teals, Widgeons, and many other pleasant Fowl; and (as it is said
before) the Rivers are very deep and navigable above 100 miles up; also there
are wholesome Springs and Rivulets. Last of all, the Air comes to be
considered, which is not the least considerable to the well being of a
Plantation, for without a wholsome Air all other considerations avail nothing;
and this is it which makes this Place so desireable, being seated in the most
temperate Clime, where the neighbour-hood of the glorious Light of Heaven
brings many advantages, and his convenient distance secures them from the
Inconvenience of his scortching beams. The Summer is not too hot, and the
Winter is very short and moderate, best agreeing with English Constitutions.
Cape Feare lyes about 34 degrees from the Equator, the Nights nor Days are so
long, when at longest as in England, by somewhat above two hours. A remarkable
Instance of the Healthfulness of the Place, is, That at the first setting down
of the Colony, when they had no house nor harbour, but wrought hard all day, in
preparing Wood to build, and lay in the open Air all night, yet not one of them
was ill, but continued well all the time; they Sympathize most with the
Barmoodoes, which is the healthfullest spot in the World, and yet the last year
they had a Feaver and Ague that troubled them much, which also was at Cape
Feare, but was not dangerous to any that took care of themselves, and had
things convenient. This place had been aimed at many years since.
Sir Walter Rawleigh had a design
to have planted it. Those of the Barmoodoes, whose Habitations are too streight
for them, have with longing desire waited for the discovery of this place that
is neer their own Latitude, where they may expect the same healthfulness they
do now enjoy, which is now perfected as to the first Settlement, and wants
nothing but a diligent prosecution of so noble an Enterprize..

If therefore any industrious and ingenious persons shall be
willing to pertake of the Felicites of this Country, let them imbrace the first
opportunity, that they may obtain the greater advantages..

The chief of the Privileges are as follows.

First, There is full and free Liberty
of Conscience granted to all, so that no man is to be molested or called in
question for matters of Religious Concern; but every one to be obedient to the
Civil Government, worshipping God after their own way..

Secondly, There is freedom from Custom,
for all Wine, Silk, Raisins, Currance, Oyl, Olives, and Almonds, that shall be
raised in the Province for 7. years, after 4 Ton of
any of those commodities shall be imported in one Bottom..

Thirdly, Every Free-man and Free-woman
that transport themselves and Servants by the 25 of March next, being 1667.
shall have for Himself, Wife, Children, and Men-servants, for each 100 Acres of
Land for him and his Heirs for ever, and for every Woman-servant and Slave 50
Acres, paying at most 1/2d. per acre,
per annum, in lieu of all demands, to the Lords
Proprietors: Provided always, That every Man be armed with a good Musquet full
bore, 10l. Powder, and 20l. of Bullet, and six Months Provision for all, to serve
them whilst they raise Provision in that Countrey..

Fourthly, Every Man-Servant at the
expiration of their time, is to have of the Country a 100 Acres of Land to him
and his heirs for ever, paying only 1/2d. per
Acre, per annum, and the Women 50. Acres of Land on
the same conditions; their Masters also are to allow them two Suits of Apparrel
and Tools such as he is best able to work with, according to the Custom of the

Fifthly, They are to have a Governour
and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the Laws of the Assembly
put in due execution; but the Governour is to rule but 3 years, and then learn
to obey; also he hath no power to lay any Tax, or make or abrogate any Law,
without the Consent of the Colony in their Assembly. .

Sixthly, They are to choose annually
from among themselves, a certain Number of Men, according to their divisions,
which constitute the General Assembly with the Governour and his Council, and
have the sole power of Making Laws, and Laying Taxes for the common good when
need shall require. .

These are the chief and Fundamental privileges, but the Right
Honourable Lords Proprietors have promised (and it is their Interest so to do)
to be ready to grant what other Privileges may be found advantageous for the
good, of the Colony..

Is there therefore any younger Brother who is born of Gentile
blood, and whose Spirit is elevated above the common sort, and yet the hard
usage of our Country hath not allowed suitable fortune; he will not surely be
afraid to leave his Native Soil to advance his Fortunes equal to his Blood and
Spirit, and so he will avoid those unlawful ways too many of our young
Gentlemen take to maintain themselves according to their high education, having
but small Estates; here, with a few Servants and a small Stock a great Estate
may be raised, although his Birth have not entitled him to any of the Land of
his Ancestors, yet his Industry may supply him so, as to make him the head of
as famous a family..

There is an opportunity offers now by the Virginia Fleet, from
whence Cape Feare is but 3 or 4 days sail, and then a small Stock carried to
Virginia will purchase provisions at a far easier rate than to carry them from
hence; also the freight of the said Provisions will be saved, and be more
fresh, and there wanteth not conveyance from Virginia thither..

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will
think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for
if they be but Civil, and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other, will
purchase them for their Wives..

Those that desire further advice, or Servants that would be
entertained, let them repair to
Mr. Matthew Wilkinson,
Ironmonger, at the Sign of the Three Feathers, in Bishopsgate Street, where
they may be informed when the Ships will be ready, and what they must carry
with them..

Thus much was convenient to be written at present, but a
more ample Relation is intended to be published in due time.

Full Colophon Information

Genre: Prose
Subjects: agriculture, Colonial Society and Life
Period: 1650-1700
Location: British American South
Format: Account/Relation

This text was originally published in London in 1666.

The text of the present edition was prepared from Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73. It has subsequently been proofed against Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73. All preliminaries have been omitted except those for which the author is responsible and those in which editorial notes indicate significant textual variations. Line and paragraph numbers contained in the source text have been retained. In cases where the source text displays no numbers, numbers are automatically generated. In the header, personal names have been regularized according to the Library of Congress authority files as "Last Name, First Name" for the REG attribute and "First Name Last Name" for the element value. Names have not been regularized in the body of the text.