History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina

An Electronic Edition · William Byrd II of Westover (1674-1744)

Original Source: The Westover manuscripts containing the history of the dividing line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina, a journey to the land of Eden, A.D. 1733, and a progress to the mines written from 1728 to 1736. Petersburg [Va.]: Printed by Edmund and Julian C. Ruffin, 1841.

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

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History of the Dividing Line: Run in the Year 1728

Before I enter upon the journal of the line between Virginia and North
Carolina, it will be necessary to clear the way to it, by showing how the other
British colonies on the Main have, one after another, been carved out of
Virginia, by grants from his majesty’s royal predecessors. All that part of the
northern American continent now under the dominion of the king of Great
Britain, and stretching quite as far as the cape of Florida, went at first
under the general name of Virginia.1.

The only distinction, in those
early days, was, that all the coast to the southward of Chesapeake bay was
called South Virginia, and all to the northward of it, North Virginia.2.

The first settlement of this fine country was owing to that great
ornament of the British nation, sir Walter Raleigh, who obtained a grant
thereof from queen Elizabeth of ever-glorious memory, by letters patent, dated
March the 25th, 1584.3.

But whether that gentleman ever made a
voyage thither himself is uncertain; because those who have favoured the public
with an account of his life mention nothing of it. However, thus much may be
depended on, that sir Walter invited sundry persons of distinction to share in
his charter, and join their purses with his in the laudable project of fitting
out a colony to Virginia.4.

Accordingly, two ships were sent away
that very year, under the command of his good friends Amidas and Barlow, to
take possession of the country in the name of his royal mistress, the queen of

These worthy commanders, for the advantage of the trade
winds, shaped their course first to the Charibbe islands, thence stretching
away by the gulf of Florida, dropped anchor not far from Roanoke inlet. They
ventured ashore near that place upon an island now called Colleton island,
where they set up the arms of England, and claimed the adjacent country in
right of their sovereign lady, the queen; and this ceremony being duly
performed, they kindly invited the neighbouring Indian to traffick with

These poor people at first approached the English with great
caution, having heard much of the treachery of the Spaniards, and not knowing
but these strangers might be as treacherous as they. But, at length,
discovering a kind of good nature in their looks, they ventured to draw near,
and barter their skins and furs for the bawbles and trinkets of the

These first adventurers made a very profitable voyage,
raising at least a thousand per cent. upon their cargo. Amongst other Indian
commodities, they brought over some of that bewitching vegetable, tobacco. And
this being the first that ever came to England, sir Walter thought he could do
no less than make a present of some of the brightest of it to his royal
mistress, for her own smoking. The queen graciously accepted of it, but finding
her stomach sicken after two or three whiffs, it was presently whispered by the
earl of Leicester’s faction, that sir Walter had certainly poisoned her. But
her majesty soon recovering her disorder, obliged the countess of Nottingham
and all her maids to smoke a whole pipe out amongst them.8.

As it
happened some ages before to be the fashion to saunter to the Holy Land, and go
upon other Quixote adventures, so it was now grown the humour to take a trip to
America. The Spaniards had lately discovered rich mines in their part of the
West Indies, which made their maritime neighbours eager to do so too. This
modish frenzy being still more inflamed by the charming account given of
Virginia, by the first adventurers, made many fond of removing to such a

Happy was he, and still happier she, that could get
themselves transported, fondly expecting their coarsest utensils, in that happy
place, would be of massy silver.10.

This made it easy for the
company to procure as many volunteers as they wanted for their new colony; but,
like most other undertakers who have no assistance from the public, they
starved the design by too much frugality; for, unwilling to launch out at first
into too much expense, they shipped off but few people at a time, and those but
scantily provided. The adventurers were, besides, idle and extravagant, and
expected they might live without work in so plentiful a country.11.

These wretches were set ashore not far from Roanoke inlet, but by some
fatal disagreement, or laziness, were either starved or cut to pieces by the

Several repeated misadventures of this kind did, for
some time, allay the itch of sailing to this new world; but the distemper broke
out again about the year 1606. Then it happened that the earl of Southampton
and several other persons, eminent for their quality and estates, were invited
into the company, who applied themselves once more to people the then almost
abandoned colony. For this purpose they embarked about a hundred men, most of
them reprobates of good families, and related to some of the company, who were
men of quality and fortune.13.

The ships that carried them made a
shift to find a more direct way to Virginia, and ventured through the capes
into the bay of Chesapeake. The same night they came to an anchor at the mouth
of Powhatan, the same as James river, where they built a small fort at a place
called Point Comfort.14.

This settlement stood its ground from that
time forward in spite of all the blunders and disagreement of the first
adventurers, and the many calamities that befel the colony afterwards.
* 15.

These found
the first adventurers in a very starving condition, but relieved their wants
with the fresh supply they brought with them. From Kiquotan they extended
themselves as far as James-town, where, like true Englishmen, they built a
church that cost no more than fifty pounds, and a tavern that cost five

They had now made peace with the Indians, but there was
one thing wanting to make that peace lasting. The natives could, by no means,
persuade themselves that the English were heartily their friends, so long as
they disdained to intermarry with them. And, in earnest, had the English
consulted their own security and the good of the colony–had they intended
either to civilize or convert these gentiles, they would have brought their
stomachs to embrace this prudent alliance.17.

The Indians are
generally tall and well-proportioned, which may make full amends for the
darkness of their complexions. Add to this, that they are healthy and strong,
with constitutions untainted by lewdness, and not enfeebled by luxury. Besides,
morals and all considered, I cannot think the Indians were much greater
heathens than the first adventurers, who, had they been good Christians, would
have had the charity to take this only method of converting the natives to
Christianity. For, after all that can be said, a sprightly lover is the most
prevailing missionary that can be sent amongst these, or any other

Besides, the poor Indians would have had less reason to
complain that the English took away their land, if they had received it by way
of portion with their daughters. Had such affinities been contracted in the
beginning, how much bloodshed had been prevented, and how populous would the
country have been, and, consequently, how considerable? Nor would the shade of
the skin have been any reproach at this day; for if a Moor may be washed white
in three generations, surely an Indian might have been blanched in two.19.

The French, for their parts, have not been so squeamish in Canada,
who upon trial find abundance of attraction in the Indians. Their late grand
monarch thought it not below even the dignity of a Frenchman to become one
flesh with this people, and therefore ordered 100 livres for any of his
subjects, man or woman, that would intermarry with a native.20.

this piece of policy we find the French interest very much strengthened amongst
the savages, and their religion, such as it is, propagated just as far as their
love. And I heartily wish this well-concerted scheme does not hereafter give
the French an advantage over his majesty’s good subjects on the northern
continent of America.21.

About the same time New England was pared
off from Virginia by letters patent, bearing date April the 10th, 1608. Several
gentlemen of the town and neighborhood of Plymouth obtained this grant, with
the lord chief justice Popham at their head.22.

Their bounds were
specified to extend from 38 to 45 degrees of northern latitude, with a breadth
of one hundred miles from the sea shore. The first fourteen years, this company
encountered many difficulties, and lost many men, though far from being
discouraged, they sent over numerous recruits of presbyterians, every year, who
for all that, had much ado to stand their ground, with all their fighting and

But about the year 1620, a large swarm of dissenters
fled thither from the severities of their stepmother, the church. These saints
conceiving the same aversion to the copper complexion of the natives, with that
of the first adventurers to Virginia, would, on no terms, contract alliances
with them, afraid perhaps, like the Jews of old, lest they might be drawn into
idolatry by those strange women.24.

Whatever disgusted them I cannot
say, but this false delicacy creating in the Indians a jealousy that the
English were ill affected towards them, was the cause that many of them were
cut off, and the rest exposed to various distresses.25.

reinforcement was landed not far from cape Cod, where, for their greater
security, they built a fort, and near it a small town, which, in honour of the
proprietors, was called New Plymouth. But they still had many discouragements
to struggle with, though, by being well supported from home, they by degrees
triumphed over them all.26.

Their brethren, after this, flocked over
so fast, that in a few years they extended the settlement one hundred miles
along the coast, including Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard.27.

Thus the colony throve apace, and was thronged with large detachments of
independents and presbyterians, who thought themselves persecuted at home.28.

Though these people may be ridiculed for some pharisaical
particularities in their worship and behaviour, yet they were very useful
subjects, as being frugal and industrious, giving no scandal or bad example, at
least by any open and public vices. By which excellent qualities they had much
the advantage of the southern colony, who thought their being members of the
established church sufficient to sanctify very loose and profligate morals. For
this reason New England improved much faster than Virginia, and in seven or
eight years New Plymouth, like Switzerland, seemed too narrow a territory for
its inhabitants.29.

For this reason, several gentlemen of fortune
purchased of the company that canton of New England now called Massachusetts
colony. And king James confirmed the purchase by his royal charter, dated March
the 4th, 1628. In less than two years after, above one thousand of the
puritanical sect removed thither with considerable effects, and these were
followed by such crowds, that a proclamation was issued in England, forbidding
any more of his majesty’s subjects to be shipped off. But this had the usual
effect of things forbidden, and served only to make the wilful independents
flock over the faster. And about this time it was that Messrs. Hampden and Pym,
and (some say) Oliver Cromwell, to show how little they valued the king’s
authority, took a trip to New England.30.

In the year 1630, the
famous city of Boston was built, in a commodious situation for trade and
navigation, the same being on a peninsula at the bottom of Massachusetts

This town is now the most considerable of any on the British
continent, containing at least 8,000 houses and 40,000 inhabitants. The trade
it drives, is very great to Europe, and to every part of the West Indies,
having near 1,000 ships and lesser vessels belonging to it.32.

Although the extent of the Massachusetts colony reached near one hundred
and ten miles in length, and half as much in breadth, yet many of its
inhabitants, thinking they wanted elbow room, quitted their old seats in the
year 1636, and formed two new colonies: that of Connecticut and New Haven.
These king Charles II. erected into one government in 1664, and gave them many
valuable privileges, and among the rest, that of choosing their own governors.
The extent of these united colonies may be about seventy miles long and fifty

Besides these several settlements, there sprang up still
another, a little more northerly, called New Hampshire. But that consisting of
no more than two counties, and not being in condition to support the charge of
a distinct government, was glad to be incorporated with that of Massachusetts,
but upon condition, however, of being named in all public acts, for fear of
being quite lost and forgotten in the coalition.34.

In like manner
New Plymouth joined itself to Massachusetts, except only Rhode Island, which,
though of small extent, got itself erected into a separate government by a
charter from king Charles II., soon after the restoration, and continues so to
this day.35.

These governments all continued in possession of their
respective rights and privileges till the year 1683, when that of Massachusetts
was made void in England by a quo warranto.36.

In consequence of
which the king was pleased to name sir Edmund Andros his first governor of that
colony. This gentleman, it seems, ruled them with a rod of iron till the
revolution, when they laid unhallowed hands upon him, and sent him prisoner to

This undutiful proceeding met with an easy forgiveness
at that happy juncture. King William and his royal consort were not only
pleased to overlook this indignity offered to their governor, but being made
sensible how unfairly their charter had been taken away, most graciously
granted them a new one.38.

By this some new franchises were given
them, as an equivalent for those of coining money and electing a governor,
which were taken away. However, the other colonies of Connecticut and Rhode
Island had the luck to remain in possession of their original charters, which
to this day have never been called in question.39.

The next country
dismembered from Virginia was New Scotland, claimed by the crown of England in
virtue of the first discovery by Sebastian Cabot. By colour of this title, king
James I. granted it to sir William Alexander by patent, dated September the
10th, 1621.40.

But this patentee never sending any colony thither,
and the French believing it very convenient for them, obtained a surrender of
it from their good friend and ally, king Charles II., by the treaty of Breda.
And, to show their gratitude, they stirred up the Indians soon after to annoy
their neighbours of New England. Murders happened continually to his majesty’s
subjects by their means, till sir William Phipps took their town of Port Royal,
in the year 1690. But as the English are better at taking than keeping strong
places, the French retook it soon, and remained masters of it till 1710, when
general Nicholson wrested it, once more, out of their hands.41.

Afterwards the queen of Great Britain’s right to it was recognized and
confirmed by the treaty of Utrecht.42.

Another limb lopped off from
Virginia was New York, which the Dutch seized very unfairly, on pretence of
having purchased it from captain Hudson, the first discoverer. Nor was their
way of taking possession of it a whit more justifiable than their pretended
title. Their West India company tampered with some worthy English skippers (who
had contracted with a swarm of English dissenters to transport them to Hudson
river) by no means to land them there, but to carry them some leagues more

This Dutch finesse took exactly, and gave the company
time soon after to seize Hudson river for themselves. But sir Samuel Argall,
then governor of Virginia, understanding how the king’s subjects had been
abused by these republicans, marched thither with a good force, and obliged
them to renounce all pretensions to that country. The worst of it was, the
knight depended on their parole to ship themselves for Brazil, but took no
measures to make this slippery people as good as their word.44.

sooner was the good governor retired, but the honest Dutch began to build forts
and strengthen themselves in their ill-gotten possessions; nor did any of the
king’s liege people take the trouble to drive these intruders thence. The civil
war in England, and the confusions it brought forth, allowed no leisure for
such distant considerations. Though it is strange that the protector, who
neglected no occasion to mortify the Dutch, did not afterwards call them to
account for this breach of faith. However, after the restoration, the king sent
a squadron of his ships of war, under the command of sir Robert Carr, and
reduced that province to his obedience.45.

Some time after, his
majesty was pleased to grant that country to his royal highness, the duke of
York, by letters patent, dated March the 12th, 1664. But to show the modesty of
the Dutch to the life, though they had no shadow of right to New York, yet they
demanded Surinam, a more valuable country, as an equivalent for it, and our
able ministers at that time had the generosity to give it them.46.

But what wounded Virginia deepest was the cutting off Maryland from it,
by charter from king Charles I. to sir George Calvert, afterwards lord
Baltimore, bearing date the 20th of June, 1632. The truth of it is, it begat
much speculation in those days, how it came about that a good protestant king
should bestow so bountiful a grant upon a zealous Roman catholic. But it is
probable it was one fatal instance amongst many other of his majesty’s
complaisance to the queen.47.

However that happened, it is certain
this province afterwards proved a commodious retreat for persons of that
communion. The memory of the gunpowder treason-plot was still fresh in every
body’s mind, and made England too hot for papists to live in, without danger of
being burnt with the pope, every 5th of November; for which reason legions of
them transplanted themselves to Maryland in order to be safe, as well from the
insolence of the populace as the rigour of the government.48.

only the gunpowder treason, but every other plot, both pretended and real, that
has been trumped up in England ever since, has helped to people his lordship’s
propriety. But what has proved most serviceable to it was the grand rebellion
against king Charles I., when every thing that bore the least tokens of popery
was sure to be demolished, and every man that professed it was in jeopardy of
suffering the same kind of martyrdom the Romish priests do in Sweden.49.

Soon after the reduction of New York, the duke was pleased to grant
out of it all that tract of land included between Hudson and Delaware rivers,
to the lord Berkley and sir George Carteret, by deed dated June the 24th, 1664.
And when these grantees came to make partition of this territory, his
lordship’s moiety was called West Jersey, and that to sir George, East

But before the date of this grant, the Swedes began to
gain footing in part of that country; though, after they saw the fate of New
York, they were glad to submit to the king of England, on the easy terms of
remaining in their possessions, and rendering a moderate quit-rent. Their
posterity continue there to this day, and think their lot cast in a much fairer
land than Dalicarlia.51.

The proprietors of New Jersey, finding more
trouble than profit in their new dominions, made over their right to several
other persons, who obtained a fresh grant from his royal highness, dated March
the 14th, 1682.52.

Several of the grantees, being quakers and
anabaptists, failed not to encourage many of their own persuasion to remove to
this peaceful region. Amongst them were a swarm of Scots quakers, who were not
tolerated to exercise the gifts of the spirit in their own country.53.

Besides the hopes of being safe from persecution in this retreat, the
new proprietors inveigled many over by this tempting account of the country:
that it was a place free from those three great scourges of mankind, priests,
lawyers, and physicians. Nor did they tell them a word of a lie, for the people
were yet too poor to maintain these learned gentlemen, who, every where, love
to be well paid for what they do; and, like the Jews, cannot breathe in a
climate where nothing is to be gotten.54.

The Jerseys continued
under the government of these proprietors till the year 1702, when they made a
formal surrender of the dominion to the queen, reserving however the property
of the soil to themselves. So soon as the bounds of New Jersey came to be
distinctly laid off, it appeared there was still a narrow slip of land, lying
betwixt that colony and Maryland. Of this, William Penn, a man of much worldly
wisdom, and some eminence among the quakers, got early notice, and, by the
credit he had with the duke of York, obtained a patent for it, dated March the
4th, 1680.55.

It was a little surprising to some people how a quaker
should be so much in the good graces of a popish prince; though, after all, it
may be pretty well accounted for. This ingenious person had not been bred a
quaker; but, in his earlier days, had been a man of pleasure about the town. He
had a beautiful form and very taking address, which made him successful with
the ladies, and particularly with a mistress of the duke of Monmouth. By this
gentlewoman he had a daughter, who had beauty enough to raise her to be a
dutchess, and continued to be a toast full 30 years. But this amour had like to
have brought our fine gentleman in danger of a duel, had he not discreetly
sheltered himself under this peaceable persuasion. Besides, his father having
been a flag-officer in the navy, while the duke of York was lord high admiral,
might recommend the son to his favour. This piece of secret history I thought
proper to mention, to wipe off the suspicion of his having been popishly

This gentleman’s first grant confined him within pretty
narrow bounds, giving him only that portion of land which contains Buckingham,
Philadelphia and Chester counties. But to get these bounds a little extended,
he pushed his interest still further with his royal highness, and obtained a
fresh grant of the three lower counties, called Newcastle, Kent and Sussex,
which still remained within the New York patent, and had been luckily left out
of the grant of New Jersey. The six counties being thus incorporated, the
proprietor dignified the whole with the name of Pennsylvania.57.

quakers flocked over to this country in shoals, being averse to go to heaven
the same way with the bishops. Amongst them were not a few of good substance,
who went vigorously upon every kind of improvement; and thus much I may truly
say in their praise, that by diligence and frugality, for which this harmless
sect is remarkable, and by having no vices but such as are private, they have
in a few years made Pennsylvania a very fine country. The truth is, they have
observed exact justice with all the natives that border upon them; they have
purchased all their lands from the Indians; and though they paid but a trifle
for them, it has procured them the credit of being more righteous than their
neighbours. They have likewise had the prudence to treat them kindly upon all
occasions, which has saved them from many wars and massacres wherein the other
colonies have been indiscreetly involved. The truth of it is, a people whose
principles forbid them to draw the carnal sword, were in the right to give no

Both the French and Spaniards had, in the name of
their respective monarchs, long ago taken possession of that part of the
northern continent that now goes by the name of Carolina; but finding it
produced neither gold nor silver, as they greedily expected, and meeting such
returns from the Indians as their own cruelty and treachery deserved, they
totally abandoned it. In this deserted condition that country lay for the space
of ninety years, till king Charles II., finding it a derelict, granted it away
to the earl of Clarendon and others, by his royal charter, dated March the
24th, 1663. The boundary of that grant towards Virginia was a due west line
from Luck island, (the same as Colleton island,) lying in 36 degrees of north
latitude, quite to the South sea.59.

But afterwards sir William
Berkley, who was one of the grantees and at that time governor of Virginia,
finding a territory of 31 miles in breadth between the inhabited part of
Virginia and the above-mentioned boundary of Carolina, advised the lord
Clarendon of it. And his lordship had interest enough with the king to obtain a
second patent to include it, dated June the 30th, 1665.60.

This last
grant describes the bounds between Virginia and Carolina in these words: •To
run from the north end of Coratuck inlet, due west to Weyanoke creek, lying
within or about the degree of thirty-six and thirty minutes of northern
latitude, and from thence west, in a direct line, as far as the South sea.•
Without question, this boundary was well known at the time the charter was
granted, but in a long course of years Weyanoke creek lost its name, so that it
became a controversy where it lay. Some ancient persons in Virginia affirmed it
was the same with Wicocon, and others again in Carolina were as positive it was
Nottoway river.61.

In the mean time, the people on the frontiers
entered for land, and took out patents by guess, either from the king or the
lords proprietors. But the crown was like to be the loser by this uncertainty,
because the terms both of taking up and seating land were easier much in
Carolina. The yearly taxes to the public were likewise there less burthensome,
which laid Virginia under a plain disadvantage.62.

consideration put that government upon entering into measures with North
Carolina, to terminate the dispute, and settle a certain boundary between the
two colonies. All the difficulty was, to find out which was truly Weyanoke
creek. The difference was too considerable to be given up by either side, there
being a territory of fifteen miles betwixt the two streams in controversy.63.

However, till that matter could be adjusted, it was agreed on both
sides, that no lands at all should be granted within the disputed bounds.
Virginia observed this agreement punctually, but I am sorry I cannot say the
same of North Carolina. The great officers of that province were loath to lose
the fees accruing from the grants of land, and so private interest got the
better of public spirit; and I wish that were the only place in the world where
such politics are fashionable.64.

All the steps that were taken
afterwards in that affair, will best appear by the report of the Virginia
commissioners, recited in the order of council given at St. James’, March the
1st, 1710, set down in the appendix.65.

It must be owned, the report
of those gentlemen was severe upon the then commissioners of North Carolina,
and particularly upon Mr. Moseley. I will not take it upon me to say with how
much justice they said so many hard things, though it had been fairer play to
have given the parties accused a copy of such representation, that they might
have answered what they could for themselves.66.

But since that was
not done, I must beg leave to say thus much in behalf of Mr. Moseley, that he
was not much in the wrong to find fault with the quadrant produced by the
surveyors of Virginia, because that instrument placed the mouth of Nottoway
river in the latitude of 37 degrees; whereas, by an accurate observation made
since, it appears to lie in 36 and deg; 30′ 30”, so that there was an error of
near 30 minutes, either in the instrument or in those who made use of it.67.

Besides, it is evident the mouth of Nottoway river agrees much better
with the latitude, wherein the Carolina charter supposed Weyanoke creek,
(namely, in or about 36anddeg; 30′,) than it does with Wicocon creek, which is
about fifteen miles more southerly.68.

This being manifest, the
intention of the king’s grant will be pretty exactly answered, by a due west
line drawn from Coratuck inlet to the mouth of Nottoway river, for which reason
it is probable that was formerly called Weyanoke creek, and might change its
name when the Nottoway Indians came to live upon it, which was since the date
of the last Carolina charter.69.

The lieutenant governor of
Virginia, at that time colonel Spotswood, searching into the bottom of this
affair, made very equitable proposals to Mr. Eden, at that time governor of
North Carolina, in order to put an end to this controversy. These, being formed
into preliminaries, were signed by both governors, and transmitted to England,
where they had the honour to be ratified by his late majesty and assented to by
the lords proprietors of Carolina.70.

Accordingly an order was sent
by the late king to Mr. Gooch, afterwards lieutenant governor of Virginia, to
pursue those preliminaries exactly. In obedience thereunto, he was pleased to
appoint three of the council of that colony to be commissioners on the part of
Virginia, who, in conjunction with others to be named by the governor of North
Carolina, were to settle the boundary between the two governments, upon the
plan of the above-mentioned articles.71.

February, 1728. Two
experienced surveyors were at the same time directed to wait upon the
commissioners, Mr. Mayo, who made the accurate map of Barbadoes, and Mr. Irvin,
the mathematic professor of William and Mary College. And because a good number
of men were to go upon this expedition, a chaplain was appointed to attend
them, and the rather because the people on the frontiers of North Carolina, who
have no minister near them, might have an opportunity to get themselves and
their children baptized.72.

Of these proceedings on our part,
immediate notice was sent to sir Richard Everard, governor of North Carolina,
who was desired to name commissioners for that province, to meet those of
Virginia at Coratuck inlet the spring following. Accordingly he appointed four
members of the council of that province to take care of the interests of the
lords proprietors. Of these, Mr. Moseley was to serve in a double capacity,
both as commissioner and surveyor. For that reason there was but one other
surveyor from thence, Mr. Swan. All the persons being thus agreed upon, they
settled the time of meeting to be at Coratuck, March the 5th, 1728.73.

In the mean time, the requisite preparations were made for so long
and tiresome a journey; and because there was much work to be done and some
danger from the Indians, in the uninhabited part of the country, it was
necessary to provide a competent number of men. Accordingly, seventeen able
hands were listed on the part of Virginia, who were most of them Indian traders
and expert woodsmen.74.

Feb. 27th. These good men were ordered to
come armed with a musket and a tomahawk, or large hatchet, and provided with a
sufficient quantity of ammunition. They likewise brought provisions of their
own for ten days, after which time they were to be furnished by the government.
Their march was appointed to be on the 27th of February, on which day one of
the commissioners met them at their rendezvous, and proceeded with them as far
as colonel Allen’s. This gentleman is a great economist, and skilled in all the
arts of living well at an easy expense.75.

28th. They proceeded in
good order through Surry county, as far as the widow Allen’s, who had copied
Solomon’s complete housewife exactly. At this gentlewoman’s house, the other
two commissioners had appointed to join them, but were detained by some
accident at Williamsburg, longer than their appointment.76.

They pursued their march through the Isle of Wight, and observed a most
dreadful havoc made by a late hurricane, which happened in August, 1726. The
violence of it had not reached above a quarter of a mile in breadth, but within
that compass had levelled all before it. Both trees and houses were laid flat
on the ground, and several things hurled to an incredible distance. It is happy
such violent gusts are confined to so narrow a channel, because they carry
desolation wherever they go. In the evening they reached Mr. Godwin’s, on the
south branch of Nansemond river, where they were treated with abundance of
primitive hospitality.77.

March 1st. This gentleman was so kind as
to shorten their journey, by setting them over the river. They coasted the
north-east side of the Dismal for several miles together, and found all the
grounds bordering upon it very full of sloughs. The trees that grew near it
looked very reverend, with the long moss that hung dangling from their
branches. Both cattle and horses eat this moss greedily in winter when other
provender is scarce, though it is apt to scour them at first. In that moist
soil too grew abundance of that kind of myrtle which bears the candle-berries.
There was likewise, here and there, a gall bush, which is a beautiful
evergreen, and may be cut into any shape. It derives its name from its berries
turning water black, like the galls of an oak. When this shrub is transplanted
into gardens, it will not thrive without frequent watering.78.

two other commissioners came up with them just at their journey’s end, and that
evening they arrived all together at Mr. Craford’s, who lives on the south
branch of Elizabeth river, over against Norfolk. Here the commissioners left
the men with all the horses and heavy baggage, and crossed the river with their
servants only, for fear of making a famine in the town.79.

has most the air of a town of any in Virginia. There were then near 20
brigantines and sloops riding at the wharves, and oftentimes they have more. It
has all the advantages of situation requisite for trade and navigation. There
is a secure harbour for a good number of ships of any burthen. Their river
divides itself into three several branches, which are all navigable. The town
is so near the sea, that its vessels may sail in and out in a few hours. Their
trade is chiefly to the West Indies, whither they export abundance of beef,
pork, flour and lumber. The worst of it is, they contribute much towards
debauching the country by importing abundance of rum, which, like gin in Great
Britain, breaks the constitutions, vitiates the morals, and ruins the industry
of most of the poor people of this country. This place is the mart for most of
the commodities produced in the adjacent parts of North Carolina. They have a
pretty deal of lumber from the borderers on the Dismal, who make bold with the
king’s land thereabouts, without the least ceremony. They not only maintain
their stocks upon it, but get boards, shingles and other lumber out of it in
great abundance.80.

The town is built on a level spot of ground upon
Elizabeth river, the banks whereof are neither so high as to make the landing
of goods troublesome, or so low as to be in danger of overflowing. The streets
are straight, and adorned with several good houses, which increase every day.
It is not a town of ordinaries and public houses, like most others in this
country, but the inhabitants consist of merchants, ship-carpenters and other
useful artisans, with sailors enough to manage their navigation. With all these
conveniences, it lies under the two great disadvantages that most of the towns
in Holland do, by having neither good air nor good water. The two cardinal
virtues that make a place thrive, industry and frugality, are seen here in
perfection; and so long as they can banish luxury and idleness, the town will
remain in a happy and flourishing condition.81.

The method of
building wharves here is after the following manner. They lay down long pine
logs, that reach from the shore to the edge of the channel. These are bound
fast together by cross pieces notched into them, according to the architecture
of the log-houses in North Carolina. A wharf built thus will stand several
years, in spite of the worm, which bites here very much, but may be soon
repaired in a place where so many pines grow in the neighbourhood.82.

The commissioners endeavoured, in this town, to list three more men
to serve as guides in that dirty part of the country, but found that these
people knew just enough of that frightful place to avoid it. They had been told
that those Netherlands were full of bogs, of marshes and swamps, not fit for
human creatures to engage in, and this was reason enough for them not to hazard
their persons. So they told us, flat and plain, that we might even daggle
through the mire by ourselves for them.83.

The worst of it was, we
could not learn from any body in this town, what route to take to Coratuck
inlet; till at last we had the fortune to meet with a borderer upon North
Carolina, who made us a rough sketch of that part of the country. Thus, upon
seeing how the land lay, we determined to march directly to Prescot landing
upon North-west river, and proceed thence by water to the place where our line
was to begin.84.

4th. In pursuance of this resolution we crossed the
river this morning to Powder point, where we all took horse; and the grandees
of the town, with great courtesy, conducted us ten miles on our way, as far as
the long bridge built over the south branch of the river. The parson of the
parish, Mr. Marston, a painful apostle from the society, made one in this
ceremonious cavalcade.85.

At the bridge, these gentlemen, wishing us
a good deliverance, returned, and then a troop of light horse escorted us as
far as Prescot landing, upon North-west river. Care had been taken beforehand
to provide two periaugas to lie ready at that place to transport us to Coratuck
inlet. Our zeal was so great to get thither at the time appointed, that we
hardly allowed ourselves leisure to eat, which in truth we had the less stomach
to, by reason the dinner was served up by the landlord, whose nose stood on
such ticklish terms, that it was in danger of falling into the dish. We
therefore made our repast very short, and then embarked with only the surveyors
and nine chosen men, leaving the rest at Mr. W–-n’s to take care of the
horses and baggage. There we also left our chaplain, with the charitable
intent, that the gentiles round about might have time and opportunity, if they
pleased, of getting themselves and their children baptized.86.

rowed down North-west river about 18 miles, as far as the mouth of it, where it
empties itself into Albemarle sound. It was really a delightful sight, all the
way, to see the banks of the river adorned with myrtle, laurel and bay trees,
which preserve their verdure the year round, though it must be owned that these
beautiful plants, sacred to Venus and Apollo, grow commonly in a very dirty
soil. The river is, in most places, fifty or sixty yards wide, without
spreading much wider at the mouth. It is remarkable it was never known to ebb
and flow till the year 1713, when a violent storm opened a new inlet, about
five miles south of the old one; since which convulsion, the old inlet is
almost choked up by the shifting of the sand, and grows both narrower and
shoaler every day.87.

It was dark before we could reach the mouth of
the river, where our wayward stars directed us to a miserable cottage. The
landlord was lately removed, bag and baggage, from Maryland, through a strong
antipathy he had to work and paying his debts. For want of our tent, we were
obliged to shelter ourselves in this wretched hovel, where we were almost
devoured by vermin of various kinds. However, we were above complaining, being
all philosophers enough to improve such slender distresses into mirth and good

5th. The day being now come, on which we had agreed to
meet the commissioners of North Carolina, we embarked very early, which we
could the easier do, having no temptation to stay where we were. We shaped our
course along the south end of Knot’s island, there being no passage open on the
north. Further still to the southward of us, we discovered two smaller islands,
that go by the names of Bell’s and Church’s isles. We also saw a small New
England sloop riding in the sound, a little to the south of our course. She had
come in at the new inlet, as all other vessels have done since the opening of
it. This navigation is a little difficult, and fit only for vessels that draw
no more than ten feet water. The trade hither is engrossed by the saints of New
England, who carry off a great deal of tobacco, without troubling themselves
with paying that impertinent duty of a penny a pound.89.

It was just
noon before we arrived at Coratuck inlet, which is now so shallow that the
breakers fly over it with a horrible sound, and at the same time afford a very
wild prospect. On the north side of the inlet, the high land terminated in a
bluff point, from which a spit of land extended itself towards the south-east,
full half a mile. The inlet lies between that spit and another on the south of
it, leaving an opening of not quite a mile, which at this day is not
practicable for any vessel whatsoever. And as shallow as it now is, it
continues to fill up more and more, both the wind and waves rolling in the
sands from the eastern shoals.90.

About two o’clock in the afternoon
we were joined by two of the Carolina commissioners, attended by Mr. Swan,
their surveyor. The other two were not quite so punctual, which was the more
unlucky for us, because there could be no sport till they came. These
gentlemen, it seems, had the Carolina commission in their keeping, not
withstanding which, they could not forbear paying too much regard to a
proverb–fashionable in their country–not to make more haste than
good speed.91.

However, that we who were punctual might not spend
our precious time unprofitably, we took the several bearings of the coast. We
also surveyed part of the adjacent high land, which had scarcely any trees
growing upon it, but cedars. Among the shrubs, we were showed here and there a
bush of Carolina tea called Japon, which is one species of the Phylarrea. This
is an evergreen, the leaves whereof have some resemblance to tea, but differ
very widely both in taste and flavour. We also found some few plants of the
spired leaf silk grass, which is likewise an evergreen, bearing on a lofty stem
a large cluster of flowers of a pale yellow. Of the leaves of this plant the
people thereabouts twist very strong cordage.92.

A virtuoso might
divert himself here very well, in picking up shells of various hue and figure,
and amongst the rest, that species of conch shell which the Indian peak is made
of. The extremities of these shells are blue and the rest white, so that peak
of both these colours are drilled out of one and the same shell, serving the
natives both for ornament and money, and are esteemed by them far beyond gold
and silver.93.

The cedars were of singular use to us in the absence
of our tent, which we had left with the rest of the baggage for fear of
overloading the periaugas. We made a circular hedge of the branches of this
tree, wrought so close together as to fence us against the cold winds. We then
kindled a rousing fire in the centre of it, and lay round it, like so many
knights templars. But, as comfortable as this lodging was, the surveyors turned
out about two in the morning to try the variation by a meridian taken from the
north star, and found it to be somewhat less than three degrees west.94.

The commissioners of the neighbouring colony came better provided for
the belly than the business. They brought not above two men along with them
that would put their hands to any thing but the kettle and the fryingpan. These
spent so much of their industry that way, that they had as little spirit as
inclination for work.95.

6th. At noon, having a perfect observation,
we found the latitude of Coratuck inlet to be 36 degrees and 31 minutes.96.

Whilst we were busied about these necessary matters, our skipper
rowed to an oyster bank just by, and loaded his periauga with oysters as
savoury and well-tasted as those from Colchester or Walfleet, and had the
advantage of them, too, by being much larger and fatter.97.

three in the afternoon the two lag commissioners arrived, and after a few
decent excuses for making us wait, told us they were ready to enter upon
business as soon as we pleased. The first step was to produce our respective
powers, and the commission from each governor was distinctly read, and copies
of them interchangeably delivered.98.

It was observed by our
Carolina friends, that the latter part of the Virginia commission had something
in it a little too lordly and positive. In answer to which we told them it was
necessary to make it thus peremptory, lest the present commissioners might go
upon as fruitless an errand as their predecessors. The former commissioners
were tied down to act in exact conjunction with those of Carolina, and so could
not advance one step farther, or one jot faster, than they were pleased to
permit them. The memory of that disappointment, therefore, induced the
government of Virginia to give fuller powers to the present commissioners, by
authorizing them to go on with the work by themselves, in case those of
Carolina should prove unreasonable, and refuse to join with them in carrying
the business to execution. And all this was done lest his majesty’s gracious
intention should be frustrated a second time.99.

After both
commissions were considered, the first question was, where the dividing line
was to begin. This begat a warm debate; the Virginia commissioners contending,
with a great deal of reason, to begin at the end of the spit of sand; which was
undoubtedly the north shore of Coratuck inlet. But those of Carolina insisted
strenuously, that the point of high land ought rather to be the place of
beginning, because that was fixed and certain, whereas the spit of sand was
ever shifting, and did actually run out farther now than formerly. The contest
lasted some hours, with great vehemence, neither party receding from their
opinion that night. But next morning, Mr. Moseley, to convince us he was not
that obstinate person he had been represented, yielded to our reasons, and
found means to bring over his colleagues.100.

Here we began already
to reap the benefit of those peremptory words in our commission, which in truth
added some weight to our reasons. Nevertheless, because positive proof was made
by the oaths of two credible witnesses, that the spit of sand had advanced 200
yards towards the inlet since the controversy first began, we were willing for
peace’ sake to make them that allowance. Accordingly we fixed our beginning
about that distance north of the inlet, and there ordered a cedar post to be
driven deep into the sand for our beginning. While we continued here, we were
told that on the south shore, not far from the inlet, dwelt a marooner, that
modestly called himself a hermit, though he forfeited that name by suffering a
wanton female to cohabit with him. His habitation was a bower, covered with
bark after the Indian fashion, which in that mild situation protected him
pretty well from the weather. Like the ravens, he neither ploughed nor sowed,
but subsisted chiefly upon oysters, which his handmaid made a shift to gather
from the adjacent rocks. Sometimes, too, for change of diet, he sent her to
drive up the neighbour’s cows, to moisten their mouths with a little milk. But
as for raiment, he depended mostly upon his length of beard, and she upon her
length of hair, part of which she brought decently forward, and the rest
dangled behind quite down to her rump, like one of Herodotus’ East Indian
pigmies. Thus did these wretches live in a dirty state of nature, and were mere
Adamites, innocence only excepted.101.

7th. This morning the
surveyors began to run the dividing line from the cedar post we had driven into
the sand, allowing near three degrees for the variation. Without making this
just allowance, we should not have obeyed his majesty’s order in running a due
west line. It seems the former commissioners had not been so exact, which gave
our friends of Carolina but too just an exception to their proceedings. The
line cut Dosier’s island, consisting only of a flat sand, with here and there
an humble shrub growing upon it. From thence it crossed over a narrow arm of
the sound into Knot’s island, and there split a plantation belonging to William

The day being far spent, we encamped in this man’s
pasture, though it lay very low, and the season now inclined people to aguish
distempers. He suffered us to cut cedar branches for our enclosure, and other
wood for firing, to correct the moist air and drive away the damps. Our
landlady, in the days of her youth, it seems, had been a laundress in the
Temple, and talked over her adventures in that station, with as much pleasure
as an old soldier talks over his battles and distempers, and I believe with as
many additions to the truth. The soil is good in many places of this island,
and the extent of it pretty large. It lies in the form of a wedge: the south
end of it is several miles over, but towards the north it sharpens into a
point. It is a plentiful place for stock, by reason of the wide marshes
adjacent to it, and because of its warm situation. But the inhabitants pay a
little dear for this convenience, by losing as much blood in the summer season
by the infinite number of mosquitoes, as all their beef and pork can recruit in
the winter.103.

The sheep are as large as in Lincolnshire, because
they are never pinched by cold or hunger. The whole island was hitherto
reckoned to lie in Virginia, but now our line has given the greater part of it
to Carolina. The principal freeholder here is Mr. White, who keeps open house
for all travellers, that either debt or shipwreck happens to cast in his

8th. By break of day we sent away our largest periauga,
with the baggage, round the south end of Knot’s island, with orders to the men
to wait for us in the mouth of North river. Soon after, we embarked ourselves
on board the smaller vessel, with intent, if possible, to find a passage round
the north end of the island.105.

We found this navigation very
difficult, by reason of the continued shoals, and often stuck fast aground; for
though the sound spreads many miles, yet it is in most places extremely
shallow, and requires a skilful pilot to steer even a canoe safe over it. It
was almost as hard to keep our temper, as to keep the channel, in this
provoking situation. But the most impatient amongst us stroked down their
choler, and swallowed their curses, lest, if they suffered them to break out,
they might sound like complaining, which was expressly forbidden, as the first
step to sedition.106.

At a distance we described several islands to
the northward of us, the largest of which goes by the name of Cedar island. Our
periadga stuck so often that we had a fair chance to be benighted in this wide
water, which must certainly have been our fate, had we not luckily spied a
canoe that was giving a fortune-teller a cast from Princess Anne county over to
North Carolina. But, as conjurers are sometimes mistaken, the man mistrusted we
were officers of justice in pursuit of a young wench he had carried off along
with him. We gave the canoe chase for more than an hour, and when we came up
with her, threatened to make them all prisoners unless they would direct us
into the right channel. By the pilotage of these people we rowed up an arm of
the sound, called the Back bay, till we came to the head of it. There we were
stopped by a miry pocoson full half a mile in breadth, through which we were
obliged to daggle on foot, plunging now and then, though we picked our way, up
to the knees in mud. At the end of this charming walk we gained the terra firma
of Princess Anne county. In that dirty condition we were afterwards obliged to
foot it two miles, as far as John Heath’s plantation, where we expected to meet
the surveyors and the men who waited upon them.107.

While we were
performing this tedious voyage, they had carried the line through the firm land
of Knot’s island, where it was no more than half a mile wide. After that they
traversed a large marsh, that was exceedingly miry, and extended to an arm of
the Back bay. They crossed that water in a canoe, which we had ordered round
for that purpose, and then waded over another marsh, that reached quite to the
high land of Princess Anne. Both these marshes together make a breadth of five
miles, in which the men frequently sank up to the middle, without muttering the
least complaint. On the contrary, they turned all these disasters into

It was discovered, by this day’s work, that Knot’s
island was improperly so called, being in truth no more than a peninsula. The
north-west side of it is only divided from the main by the great marsh
above-mentioned, which is seldom totally overflowed. Instead of that, it might,
by the labour of a few trenches, be drained into firm meadow, capable of
grazing as many cattle as Job, in his best estate, was master of. In the miry
condition in which it now lies, it feeds great numbers in the winter, though,
when the weather grows warm, they are driven thence by the mighty armies of
mosquitoes, which are the plague of the lower part of Carolina, as much as the
flies were formerly of Egypt, and some rabbins think those flies were no other
than mosquitoes.109.

All the people in the neighbourhood flocked to
John Heath’s, to behold such rarities as they fancied us to be. The men left
their beloved chimney corners, the good women their spinning wheels, and some,
of more curiosity than ordinary, rose out of their sick beds, to come and stare
at us. They looked upon us as a troop of knights errant, who were running this
great risk of our lives, as they imagined, for the public weal; and some of the
gravest of them questioned much whether we were not all criminals, condemned to
this dirty work for offences against the state. What puzzled them most was,
what could make our men so very light-hearted under such intolerable drudgery.
“Ye have little reason to be merry, my masters,” said one of
them, with a very solemn face, “I fancy the pocoson you must struggle
with to-morrow will make you change your note, and try what metal you are made
of. Ye are, to be sure, the first of human race that ever had the boldness to
attempt it, and I dare say will be the last. If, therefore, you have any
worldly goods to dispose of, my advice is that you make your wills this very
night, for fear you die intestate to-morrow.” But, alas! these frightful
tales were so far from disheartening the men, that they served only to whet
their resolution.110.

9th. The surveyors entered early upon their
business this morning, and ran the line through Mr. Eyland’s plantation, as far
as the banks of North river. They passed over it in the periauga, and landed in
Gibbs’ marsh, which was a mile in breadth, and tolerably firm. They trudged
through this marsh without much difficulty as far as the high land, which
promised more fertility than any they had seen in these lower parts. But this
firm land lasted not long before they came upon the dreadful pocoson they had
been threatened with. Nor did they find it one jot better than it had been
painted to them. The beavers and otters had rendered it quite impassable for
any creature but themselves.111.

Our poor fellows had much ado to
drag their legs after them in this quagmire, but disdaining to be balked, they
could hardly be persuaded from pressing forward by the surveyors, who found it
absolutely necessary to make a traverse in the deepest place, to prevent their
sticking fast in the mire, and becoming a certain prey to the turkey

This horrible day’s work ended two miles to the
northward of Mr. Merchant’s plantation, divided from North-west river by a
narrow swamp, which is causewayed over. We took up our quarters in the open
field, not far from the house, correcting, by a fire as large as a Roman
funeral pile, the aguish exhalations arising from the sunken grounds that
surrounded us.113.

The neck of land included betwixt North river and
North-west river, with the adjacent marsh, belonged formerly to Governor Gibbs,
but since his decease to Colonel Bladen, in right of his first lady, who was
Mr. Gibbs’ daughter. It would be a valuable tract of land in any country but
North Carolina, where, for want of navigation and commerce, the best estate
affords little more than a coarse subsistence.114.

10th. The sabbath
happened very opportunely to give some ease to our jaded people, who rested
religiously from every work, but that of cooking the kettle. We observed very
few corn-fields in our walks, and those very small, which seemed the stranger
to us, because we could see no other tokens of husbandry or improvement. But,
upon further inquiry, we were given to understand people only made corn for
themselves and not for their stocks, which know very well how to get their own
living. Both cattle and hogs ramble into the neighbouring marshes and swamps,
where they maintain themselves the whole winter long, and are not fetched home
till the spring. Thus these indolent wretches, during one half of the year,
lose the advantage of the milk of their cattle, as well as their dung, and many
of the poor creatures perish in the mire, into the bargain, by this ill
management. Some, who pique themselves more upon industry than their
neighbours, will, now and then, in compliment to their cattle, cut down a tree
whose limbs are loaded with the moss afore-mentioned. The trouble would be too
great to climb the tree in order to gather this provender, but the shortest way
(which in this country is always counted the best) is to fell it, just like the
lazy Indians, who do the same by such trees as bear fruit, and so make one
harvest for all. By this bad husbandry milk is so scarce, in the winter season,
that were a big-bellied woman to long for it, she would lose her longing. And,
in truth, I believe this is often the case, and at the same time a very good
reason why so many people in this province are marked with a custard

The only business here is raising of hogs, which is
managed with the least trouble, and affords the diet they are most fond of. The
truth of it is, the inhabitants of North Carolina devour so much swine’s flesh,
that it fills them full of gross humours. For want too of a constant supply of
salt, they are commonly obliged to eat it fresh, and that begets the highest
taint of scurvy. Thus, whenever a severe cold happens to constitutions thus
vitiated, it is apt to improve into the yaws, called there very justly the
country distemper. This has all the symptoms of syphilis, with this
aggravation, that no preparation of mercury will touch it. First it seizes the
throat, next the palate, and lastly shows its spite to the poor nose, of which
it is apt in a small time treacherously to undermine the foundation. This
calamity is so common and familiar here, that it ceases to be a scandal, and in
the disputes that happen about beauty, the noses have in some companies much
ado to carry it. Nay, it is said that once, after three good pork years, a
motion had like to have been made in the house of burgesses, that a man with a
nose should be incapable of holding any place of profit in the province; which
extraordinary motion could never have been intended without some hopes of a

Thus, considering the foul and pernicious effects of
eating swine’s flesh in a hot country, it was wisely forbidden and made an
abomination to the Jews, who lived much in the same latitude with Carolina.117.

11th. We ordered the surveyors early to their business, who were
blessed with pretty dry grounds for three miles together. But they paid dear
for it in the next two, consisting of one continued frightful pocoson, which no
creatures but those of the amphibious kind ever had ventured into before. This
filthy quagmire did in earnest put the men’s courage to a trial, and though I
cannot say it made them lose their patience, yet they lost their humour for
joking. They kept their gravity like so many Spaniards, so that a man might
then have taken his opportunity to plunge up to the chin, without danger of
being laughed at. However, this unusual composure of countenance could not
fairly be called complaining. Their day’s work ended at the mouth of Northern’s
creek, which empties itself into North-west river; though we chose to quarter a
little higher up the river, near Mossy point. This we did for the convenience
of an old house to shelter our persons and baggage from the rain, which
threatened us hard. We judged the thing right, for there fell a heavy shower in
the night, that drove the most hardy of us into the house. Though, indeed, our
case was not much mended by retreating thither, because that tenement having
not long before been used as a pork store, the moisture of the air dissolved
the salt that lay scattered on the floor, and made it as wet within doors as
without. However, the swamps and marshes we were lately accustomed to had made
such beavers and otters of us that nobody caught the least cold. We had
encamped so early, that we found time in the evening to walk near half a mile
into the woods. There we came upon a family of mulattoes that called themselves
free, though by the shyness of the master of the house, who took care to keep
least in sight, their freedom seemed a little doubtful. It is certain many
slaves shelter themselves in this obscure part of the world, nor will any of
their righteous neighbours discover them. On the contrary, they find their
account in settling such fugitives on some out-of-the-way corner of their land,
to raise stocks for a mean and inconsiderable share, well knowing their
condition makes it necessary for them to submit to any terms. Nor were these
worthy borderers content to shelter runaway slaves, but debtors and criminals
have often met with the like indulgence. But if the government of North
Carolina has encouraged this unneighbourly policy in order to increase their
people, it is no more than what ancient Rome did before them, which was made a
city of refuge for all debtors and fugitives, and from that wretched beginning
grew up in time to be mistress of a great part of the world. And, considering
how fortune delights in bringing great things out of small, who knows but
Carolina may, one time or other, come to be the seat of some other great

12th. Every thing had been so soaked with the rain, that
we were obliged to lie by a good part of the morning and dry them. However,
that time was not lost, because it gave the surveyors an opportunity of
platting off their work and taking the course of the river. It likewise helped
to recruit the spirits of the men, who had been a little harassed with
yesterday’s march. Notwithstanding all this, we crossed the river before noon,
and advanced our line three miles. It was not possible to make more of it, by
reason good part of the way was either marsh or pocoson. The line cut two or
three plantations, leaving part of them in Virginia, and part of them in
Carolina. This was a case that happened frequently, to the great inconvenience
of the owners, who were therefore obliged to take out two patents and pay for a
new survey in each government. In the evening, we took up our quarters in Mr.
Ballance’s pasture, a little above the bridge built over North-west river.
There we discharged the two periaugas, which in truth had been very serviceable
in transporting us over the many waters in that dirty and difficult part of our
business. Our landlord had a tolerable good house and clean furniture, and yet
we could not be tempted to lodge in it. We chose rather to lie in the open
field, for fear of growing too tender. A clear sky, spangled with stars, was
our canopy, which being the last thing we saw before we fell asleep, gave us
magnificent dreams. The truth of it is, we took so much pleasure in that
natural kind of lodging, that I think at the foot of the account mankind are
great losers by the luxury of feather beds and warm apartments.119.

The curiosity of beholding so new and withal so sweet a method of
encamping, brought one of the senators of North Carolina to make us a midnight
visit. But he was so very clamorous in his commendations of it, that the
sentinel, not seeing his quality, either through his habit or behaviour, had
like to have treated him roughly. After excusing the unseasonableness of his
visit, and letting us know he was a parliament man, he swore he was so taken
with our lodging, that he would set fire to his house as soon as he got home,
and teach his wife and children to lie, like us, in the open field.120.

13th. Early this morning our chaplain repaired to us with the men we
had left at Mr. Wilson’s. We had sent for them the evening before to relieve
those who had the labour-oar from Coratuck inlet. But to our great surprise,
they petitioned not to be relieved, hoping to gain immortal reputation by being
the first of mankind that ventured through the great Dismal. But the rest being
equally ambitious of the same honour, it was but fair to decide their
pretensions by lot. After fortune had declared herself, those which she had
excluded offered money to the happy persons to go in their stead. But Hercules
would have as soon sold the glory of cleansing the Augean stables, which was
pretty near the same sort of work. No sooner was the controversy at an end, but
we sent those unfortunate fellows back to their quarters, whom chance had
condemned to remain upon firm land and sleep in a whole skin. In the mean while
the surveyors carried the line three miles, which was no contemptible day’s
work, considering how cruelly they were entangled with briers and gall bushes.
The leaf of this last shrub bespeaks it to be of the alaternus family.121.

Our work ended within a quarter of a mile of the Dismal
above-mentioned, where the ground began to be already full of sunken holes and
slashes, which had, here and there, some few reeds growing in them. It is
hardly credible how little the bordering inhabitants were acquainted with this
mighty swamp, notwithstanding they had lived their whole lives within smell of
it. Yet, as great strangers as they were to it, they pretended to be very exact
in their account of its dimensions, and were positive it could not be above
seven or eight miles wide, but knew no more of the matter than star-gazers know
of the distance of the fixed stars. At the same time, they were simple enough
to amuse our men with idle stories of the lions, panthers and alligators, they
were like to encounter in that dreadful place. In short, we saw plainly there
was no intelligence of this terra incognita to be got, but from our own
experience. For that reason it was resolved to make the requisite dispositions
to enter it next morning. We allotted every one of the surveyors for this
painful enterprise, with twelve men to attend them. Fewer than that could not
be employed in clearing the way, carrying the chain, marking the trees, and
bearing the necessary bedding and provisions. Nor would the commissioners
themselves have spared their persons on this occasion, but for fear of adding
to the poor men’s burthen, while they were certain they could add nothing to
their resolution.122.

We quartered with our friend and fellow
traveller, William Wilkins, who had been our faithful pilot to Coratuck, and
lived about a mile from the place where the line ended. Every thing looked so
very clean, and the furniture so neat, that we were tempted to lodge within
doors. But the novelty of being shut up so close quite spoiled our rest, nor
did we breathe so free by abundance, as when we lay in the open air.123.

14th. Before nine of the clock this morning, the provisions, bedding
and other necessaries were made up into packs for the men to carry on their
shoulders into the Dismal. They were victualled for eight days at full
allowance, nobody doubting but that would be abundantly sufficient to carry
them through that inhospitable place; nor indeed was it possible for the poor
fellows to stagger under more. As it was, their loads weighed from 60 to 70
pounds, in just proportion to the strength of those who were to bear them. It
would have been unconscionable to have saddled them with burthens heavier than
that, when they were to lug them through a filthy bog, which was hardly
practicable with no burthen at all. Besides this luggage at their backs, they
were obliged to measure the distance, mark the trees, and clear the way for the
surveyors every step they went. It was really a pleasure to see with how much
cheerfulness they undertook, and with how much spirit they went through all
this drudgery. For their greater safety, the commissioners took care to furnish
them with Peruvian bark, rhubarb and hipocoacanah, in case they might happen,
in that wet journey, to be taken with fevers or fluxes. Although there was no
need of example to inflame persons already so cheerful, yet to enter the people
with the better grace, the author and two more of the commissioners accompanied
them half a mile into the Dismal. The skirts of it were thinly planted with
dwarf reeds and gall bushes, but when we got into the Dismal itself, we found
the reeds grew there much taller and closer, and, to mend the matter, were so
interlaced with bamboo-briers, that there was no scuffling through them without
the help of pioneers. At the same time, we found the ground moist and trembling
under our feet like a quagmire, insomuch that it was an easy matter to run a
tenfoot pole up to the head in it, without exerting any uncommon strength to do
it. Two of the men, whose burthens were the least cumbersome, had orders to
march before, with their tomahawks, and clear the way, in order to make an
opening for the surveyors. By their assistance we made a shift to push the line
half a mile in three hours, and then reached a small piece of firm land, about
100 yards wide, standing up above the rest like an island. Here the people were
glad to lay down their loads and take a little refreshment, while the happy
man, whose lot it was to carry the jug of rum, began already like
andAElig;sop’s bread-carriers, to find it grow a good deal lighter.124.

After reposing about an hour, the commissioners recommended vigour
and constancy to their fellow-travellers, by whom they were answered with three
cheerful huzzas, in token of obedience. This ceremony was no sooner over but
they took up their burthens and attended the motion of the surveyors, who,
though they worked with all their might, could reach but one mile farther, the
same obstacles still attending them which they had met with in the morning.
However small this distance may seem to such as are used to travel at their
ease, yet our poor men, who were obliged to work with an unwieldy load at their
backs, had reason to think it a long way; especially in a bog where they had no
firm footing, but every step made a deep impression, which was instantly filled
with water. At the same time they were labouring with their hands to cut down
the reeds, which were ten feet high, their legs were hampered with the briers.
Besides, the weather happened to be warm, and the tallness of the reeds kept
off every friendly breeze from coming to refresh them. And, indeed, it was a
little provoking to hear the wind whistling among the branches of the white
cedars, which grew here and there amongst the reeds, and at the same time not
to have the comfort to feel the least breath of it.125.

In the mean
time the three commissioners returned out of the Dismal the same way they went
in, and, having joined their brethren, proceeded that night as far as Mr.
Wilson’s. This worthy person lives within sight of the Dismal, in the skirts
whereof his stocks range and maintain themselves all the winter, and yet he
knew as little of it as he did of Terra Australis Incognita. He told us a
Canterbury tale of a North Briton, whose curiosity spurred him a long way into
this great desert, as he called it, near twenty years ago, but he having no
compass, nor seeing the sun for several days together, wandered about till he
was almost famished; but at last he bethought himself of a secret his
countrymen make use of to pilot themselves in a dark day. He took a fat louse
out of his collar, and exposed it to the open day on a piece of white paper,
which he brought along with him for his journal. The poor insect, having no
eye-lids, turned himself about till he found the darkest part of the heavens,
and so made the best of his way towards the north. By this direction he steered
himself safe out, and gave such a frightful account of the monsters he saw, and
the distresses he underwent, that no mortal since has been hardy enough to go
upon the like dangerous discovery.126.

15th. The surveyors pursued
their work with all diligence, but still found the soil of the Dismal so spongy
that the water oozed up into every footstep they took. To their sorrow, too,
they found the reeds and briers more firmly interwoven than they did the day
before. But the greatest grievance was from large cypresses, which the wind had
blown down and heaped upon one another. On the limbs of most of them grew sharp
snags, pointing every way like so many pikes, that required much pains and
caution to avoid. These trees being evergreens, and shooting their large tops
very high, are easily overset by every gust of wind, because there is no firm
earth to steady their roots. Thus many of them were laid prostrate, to the
great encumbrance of the way. Such variety of difficulties made the business go
on heavily, insomuch that, from morning till night, the line could advance no
farther than one mile and thirty-one poles. Never was rum, that cordial of
life, found more necessary than it was in this dirty place. It did not only
recruit the people’s spirits, now almost jaded with fatigue, but served to
correct the badness of the water, and at the same time to resist the malignity
of the air. Whenever the men wanted to drink, which was very often, they had
nothing more to do but to make a hole, and the water bubbled up in a moment.
But it was far from being either clear or well tasted, and had besides a
physical effect, from the tincture it received from the roots of the shrubs and
trees that grew in the neighbourhood.127.

While the surveyors were
thus painfully employed, the commissioners discharged the long score they had
with Mr. Wilson, for the men and horses which had been quartered upon him
during our expedition to Coratuck. From thence we marched in good order along
the east side of the Dismal, and passed the long bridge that lies over the
south branch of Elizabeth river. At the end of 18 miles we reached Timothy
Ivy’s plantation, where we pitched our tent for the first time, and were
furnished with every thing the place afforded. We perceived the happy effects
of industry in this family, in which every one looked tidy and clean, and
carried in their countenances the cheerful marks of plenty. We saw no drones
there, which are but too common, alas, in that part of the world. Though, in
truth, the distemper of laziness seizes the men oftener much than the women.
These last spin, weave and knit, all with their own hands, while their
husbands, depending on the bounty of the climate, are slothful in every thing
but getting of children, and in that only instance make themselves useful
members of an infant colony.128.

There is but little wool in that
province, though cotton grows very kindly, and, so far south, is seldom nipped
by the frost. The good women mix this with their wool for their outer garments;
though, for want of fulling, that kind of manufacture is open and sleazy. Flax
likewise thrives there extremely, being perhaps as fine as any in the world,
and I question not might, with a little care, be brought to rival that of
Egypt; and yet the men are here so intolerably lazy, they seldom take the
trouble to propagate it.129.

16th. The line was this day carried one
mile and a half and sixteen poles. The soil continued soft and miry, but fuller
of trees, especially white cedars. Many of these too were thrown down and piled
in heaps, high enough for a good Muscovite fortification. The worst of it was,
the poor fellows began now to be troubled with fluxes, occasioned by bad water
and moist lodging: but chewing of rhubarb kept that malady within bounds.130.

In the mean time the commissioners decamped early in the morning,
and made a march of twenty-five miles, as far as Mr. Andrew Mead’s, who lives
upon Nansemond river. They were no sooner got under the shelter of that
hospitable roof, but it began to rain hard, and continued so to do great part
of the night. This gave them much pain for their friends in the Dismal, whose
sufferings spoiled their taste for the good cheer, wherewith they were
entertained themselves. However, late that evening, these poor men had the
fortune to come upon another terra firma, which was the luckier for them,
because the lower ground, by the rain that fell, was made a fitter lodging for
tadpoles than men. In our journey we remarked that the north side of this great
swamp lies higher than either the east or the west, nor were the approaches to
it so full of sunken grounds. We passed by no less than two quaker meeting
houses, one of which had an awkward ornament on the west end of it, that seemed
to ape a steeple. I must own I expected no such piece of foppery from a sect of
so much outside simplicity. That persuasion prevails much in the lower end of
Nansemond county, for want of ministers to pilot the people a decenter way to
heaven. The ill reputation of tobacco planted in those lower parishes makes the
clergy unwilling to accept of them, unless it be such whose abilities are as
mean as their pay. Thus, whether the churches be quite void or but
indifferently filled, the quakers will have an opportunity of gaining
proselytes. It is a wonder no popish missionaries are sent from Maryland to
labour in this neglected vineyard, who we know have zeal enough to traverse sea
and land on the meritorious errand of making converts. Nor is it less strange
that some wolf in sheep’s clothing arrives not from New England to lead astray
a flock that has no shepherd. People uninstructed in any religion are ready to
embrace the first that offers. It is natural for helpless man to adore his
Maker in some form or other, and were there any exception to this rule, I
should suspect it to be among the Hottentots of the cape of Good Hope and of
North Carolina.131.

There fell a great deal of rain in the night,
accompanied with a strong wind. The fellow-feeling we had for the poor
Dismalites, on account of this unkind weather, rendered the down we laid upon
uneasy. We fancied them half-drowned in their wet lodging, with the trees
blowing down about their ears. These were the gloomy images our fears
suggested; though it was so much uneasiness clear gain. They happened to come
off much better, by being luckily encamped on the dry piece of ground

17th. They were, however, forced to keep the
sabbath in spite of their teeth, contrary to the dispensation our good chaplain
had given them. Indeed, their short allowance of provision would have justified
their making the best of their way, without distinction of days. It was
certainly a work both of necessity and self-preservation, to save themselves
from starving. Nevertheless, the hard rain had made every thing so thoroughly
wet, that it was quite impossible to do any business. They therefore made a
virtue of what they could not help, and contentedly rested in their dry

Since the surveyors had entered the Dismal, they had
laid eyes on no living creature: neither bird nor beast, insect nor reptile
came in view. Doubtless, the eternal shade that broods over this mighty bog,
and hinders the sunbeams from blessing the ground, makes it an uncomfortable
habitation for any thing that has life. Not so much as a Zealand frog could
endure so aguish a situation. It had one beauty, however, that delighted the
eye, though at the expense of all the other senses: the moisture of the soil
preserves a continual verdure, and makes every plant an evergreen but at the
same time the foul damps ascend without ceasing, corrupt the air, and render it
unfit for respiration. Not even a turkey buzzard will venture to fly over it,
no more than the Italian vultures will over the filthy lake Avernus, or the
birds in the Holy Land, over the Salt sea, where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly

In these sad circumstances, the kindest thing we could do
for our suffering friends was to give them a place in the Litany. Our chaplain,
for his part, did his office, and rubbed us up with a seasonable sermon. This
was quite a new thing to our brethren of North Carolina, who live in a climate
where no clergyman can breathe, any more than spiders in Ireland.135.

For want of men in holy orders, both the members of the council and
justices of the peace are empowered by the laws of that country to marry all
those who will not take one another’s word; but for the ceremony of christening
their children, they trust that to chance. If a parson come in their way, they
will crave a cast of his office, as they call it, else they are content their
offspring should remain as arrant pagans as themselves. They account it among
their greatest advantages that they are not priest-ridden, not remembering that
the clergy is rarely guilty of bestriding such as have the misfortune to be
poor. One thing may be said for the inhabitants of that province, that they are
not troubled with any religious fumes, and have the least superstition of any
people living. They do not know Sunday from any other day, any more than
Robinson Crusoe did, which would give them a great advantage were they given to
be industrious. But they keep so many sabbaths every week, that their disregard
of the seventh day has no manner of cruelty in it, either to servants or
cattle. It was with some difficulty we could make our people quit the good
cheer they met with at this house, so it was late before we took our departure;
but to make us amends, our landlord was so good as to conduct us ten miles on
our way, as far as the Cypress swamp, which drains itself into the Dismal.
Eight miles beyond that we forded the waters of the Coropeak, which tend the
same way as do many others on that side. In six miles more we reached the
plantation of Mr. Thomas Spight, a grandee of North Carolina. We found the good
man upon his crutches, being crippled with the gout in both his knees. Here we
flattered ourselves we should by this time meet with good tidings of the
surveyors, but had reckoned, alas! without our host: on the contrary, we were
told the Dismal was at least thirty miles wide in that place. However, as
nobody could say this on his own knowledge, we ordered guns to be fired and a
drum to be beaten, but received no answer, unless it was from that prating
nymph Echo, who, like a loquacious wife, will always have the last word, and
sometimes return three for one. It was indeed no wonder our signal was not
heard at that time, by the people in the Dismal, because, in truth, they had
not then penetrated one third of their way. They had that morning fallen to
work with great vigour; and, finding the ground better than ordinary, drove on
the line two miles and thirty-eight poles. This was reckoned an Herculean day’s
work, and yet they would not have stopped there, had not an impenetrable cedar
thicket checked their industry. Our landlord had seated himself on the borders
of this Dismal, for the advantage of the green food his cattle find there all
winter, and for the rooting that supports his hogs. This, I own, is some
convenience to his purse, for which his whole family pay dear in their persons,
for they are devoured by mosquitoes all the summer, and have agues every spring
and fall, which corrupt all the juices of their bodies, give them a cadaverous
complexion, and besides a lazy, creeping habit, which they never get rid

We ordered several men to patrol on the edge of the Dismal,
both towards the north and towards the south, and to fire guns at proper
distances. This they performed very punctually, but could hear nothing in
return, nor gain any sort of intelligence. In the mean time whole flocks of
women and children flew hither to stare at us, with as much curiosity as if we
had lately landed from Bantam or Morocco. Some borderers, too, had a great mind
to know where the line would come out, being for the most part apprehensive
lest their lands should be taken into Virginia. In that case they must have
submitted to some sort of order and government; whereas, in North Carolina,
every one does what seems best in his own eyes. There were some good women that
brought their children to be baptized, but brought no capons along with them to
make the solemnity cheerful. In the mean time it was strange that none came to
be married in such a multitude, if it had only been for the novelty of having
their hands joined by one in holy orders. Yet so it was, that though our
chaplain christened above a hundred, he did not marry so much as one couple
during the whole expedition. But marriage is reckoned a lay contract in
Carolina, as I said before, and a country justice can tie the fatal knot there,
as fast as an archbishop. None of our visiters could, however, tell us any news
of the surveyors, nor indeed was it possible any of them should at that time,
they being still laboring in the midst of the Dismal. It seems they were able
to carry the link this day no further than one mile and sixty-one poles, and
that whole distance was through a miry cedar bog, where the ground trembled
under their feet most frightfully. In many places too their passage was
retarded by a great number of fallen trees, that lay horsing upon one another.
Though many circumstances concurred to make this an unwholesome situation, yet
the poor men had no time to be sick, nor can one conceive a more calamitous
case than it would have been to be laid up in that uncomfortable quagmire.
Never were patients more tractable, or willing to take physic, than these
honest fellows; but it was from a dread of laying their bones in a bog that
would soon spew them up again. That consideration also put them upon more
caution about their lodging. They first covered the ground with square pieces
of cypress bark, which now, in the spring, they could easily slip off the tree
for that purpose. On this they spread their bedding; but unhappily the weight
and warmth of their bodies made the water rise up betwixt the joints of the
bark, to their great inconvenience. Thus they lay not only moist, but also
exceedingly cold, because their fires were continually going out. For no sooner
was the trash upon the surface burnt away, but immediately the fire was
extinguished by the moisture of the soil, insomuch that it was great part of
the sentinel’s business to rekindle it again in a fresh place, every quarter of
an hour. Nor could they indeed do their duty better, because cold was the only
enemy they had to guard against in a miserable morass, where nothing can

20th. We could get no tidings yet of our brave
adventurers, notwithstanding we despatched men to the likeliest stations to
inquire after them. They were still scuffling in the mire, and could not
possibly forward the line this whole day more than one mile and sixty-four
chains. Every step of this day’s work was through a cedar bog, where the trees
were somewhat smaller and grew more into a thicket. It was now a great
misfortune to the men to find their provisions grow less as their labour grew
greater; they were all forced to come to short allowance, and consequently to
work hard without filling their bellies. Though this was very severe upon
English stomachs, yet the people were so far from being discomfited at it, that
they still kept up their good humour, and merrily told a young fellow in the
company, who looked very plump and wholesome, that he must expect to go first
to pot, if matters should come to extremity. This was only said by way of jest,
yet it made him thoughtful in earnest. However, for the present he returned
them a very civil answer, letting them know that, dead or alive, he should be
glad to be useful to such worthy good friends. But, after all, this humorous
saying had one very good effect, for that younker, who before was a little
inclined by his constitution to be lazy, grew on a sudden extremely
industrious, that so there might be less occasion to carbonade him for the good
of his fellow travellers. While our friends were thus embarrassed in the
Dismal, the commissioners began to lie under great uneasiness for them. They
knew very well their provisions must by this time begin to fall short, nor
could they conceive any likely means of a supply. At this time of the year both
the cattle and hogs had forsaken the skirts of the Dismal, invited by the
springing grass on the firm land. All our hopes were that Providence would
cause some wild game to fall in their way, or else direct them to a wholesome
vegetable for their subsistence. In short they were haunted with so many
frights on this occasion, that they were in truth more uneasy than the persons
whose case they lamented. We had several visiters from Edenton, in the
afternoon, that came with Mr. Gale, who had prudently left us at Coratuck, to
scuffle through that dirty country by ourselves. These gentlemen, having good
noses, had smelled out, at thirty miles’ distance, the precious liquor with
which the liberality of our good friend Mr. Mead had just before supplied us.
That generous person had judged very right, that we were now got out of the
latitude of drink proper for men in affliction, and therefore was so good as to
send his cart loaded with all sorts of refreshments, for which the
commissioners returned him their thanks, and the chaplain his blessing.138.

21st. The surveyors and their attendants began now in good earnest
to be alarmed with apprehensions of famine, nor could they forbear looking with
some sort of appetite upon a dog which had been the faithful companion of their
travels. Their provisions were now near exhausted. They had this morning made
the last distribution, that so each might husband his small pittance as he
pleased. Now it was that the fresh coloured young man began to tremble every
joint of him, having dreamed, the night before, that the Indians were about to
barbacue him over live coals. The prospect of famine determined the people, at
last, with one consent, to abandon the line for the present, which advanced but
slowly, and make the best of their way to firm land. Accordingly they set off
very early, and, by the help of the compass which they carried along with them,
steered a direct westwardly course. They marched from morning till night, and
computed their journey to amount to about four miles, which was a great way,
considering the difficulties of the ground. It was all along a cedar swamp, so
dirty and perplexed, that if they had not travelled for their lives, they could
not have reached so far. On their way they espied a turkey buzzard, that flew
prodigiously high to get above the noisome exhalations that ascend from that
filthy place. This they were willing to understand as a good omen, according to
the superstition of the ancients, who had great faith in the flight of
vultures. However, after all this tedious journey, they could yet discover no
end of their toil, which made them very pensive, especially after they had
eaten the last morsel of their provisions. But to their unspeakable comfort,
when all was hushed in the evening, they heard the cattle low, and the dogs
bark, very distinctly, which, to men in that distress, was more delightful
music than Faustina or Farinelli could have made. In the mean time the
commissioners could get no news of them from any of their visiters, who
assembled from every point of the compass. But the good landlord had visiters
of another kind while we were there, that is to say, some industrious masters
of ships, that lay in Nansemond river. These worthy commanders came to bespeak
tobacco from these parts to make up their loadings, in contempt of the Virginia
law, which positively forbade their taking in any made in North Carolina. Nor
was this restraint at all unreasonable; because they have no law in Carolina,
either to mend the quality or lessen the quantity of tobacco, or so much as to
prevent the turning out of seconds, all which cases have been provided against
by the laws of Virginia. Wherefore, there can be no reason why the inhabitants
of that province should have the same advantage of shipping their tobacco in
our parts, when they will by no means submit to the same restrictions that we

22d. Our patrol happened not to go far enough to the
northward this morning, if they had, the people in the Dismal might have heard
the report of their guns. For this reason they returned without any tidings,
which threw us into a great though unnecessary perplexity. This was now the
ninth day since they entered into that inhospitable swamp, and consequently we
had reason to believe their provisions were quite spent. We knew they worked
hard, and therefore would eat heartily, so long as they had wherewithal to
recruit their spirits, not imagining the swamp so wide as they found it. Had we
been able to guess where the line would come out, we would have sent men to
meet them with a fresh supply; but as we could know nothing of that, and as we
had neither compass nor surveyor to guide a messenger on such an errand, we
were unwilling to expose him to no purpose; therefore, all we were able to do
for them, in so great an extremity, was to recommend them to a merciful
Providence. However long we might think the time, yet we were cautious of
showing our uneasiness, for fear of mortifying our landlord. He had done his
best for us, and therefore we were unwilling he should think us dissatisfied
with our entertainment. In the midst of our concern, we were most agreeably
surprised, just after dinner, with the news that the Dismalites were all safe.
These blessed tidings were brought to us by Mr. Swan, the Carolina surveyor,
who came to us in a very tattered condition. After very short salutations, we
got about him as if he had been a Hottentot, and began to inquire into his
adventures. He gave us a detail of their uncomfortable voyage through the
Dismal, and told us, particularly, they had pursued their journey early that
morning, encouraged by the good omen of seeing the crows fly over their heads;
that, after an hour’s march over very rotten ground, they, on a sudden, began
to find themselves among tall pines, that grew in the water, which in many
places was knee deep. This pine swamp, into which that of Coropeak drained
itself, extended near a mile in breadth; and though it was exceedingly wet, yet
it was much harder at bottom than the rest of the swamp; that about ten in the
morning they recovered firm land, which they embraced with as much pleasure as
shipwrecked wretches do the shore. After these honest adventurers had
congratulated each other’s deliverance, their first inquiry was for a good
house, where they might satisfy the importunity of their stomachs. Their good
genius directed them to Mr. Brinkley’s, who dwells a little to the southward of
the line. This man began immediately to be very inquisitive, but they declared
they had no spirits to answer questions, till after dinner. “But pray,
gentlemen,” said he, “answer me one question at least: what shall
we get for your dinner?” To which they replied, “No matter what,
so it be but enough.” He kindly supplied their wants as soon as
possible, and by the strength of that refreshment they made a shift to come to
us in the evening, to tell their own story. They all looked very thin, and as
ragged as the Gibeonite ambassadors did in the days of yore.140.

surveyors told us they had measured ten miles in the Dismal, and computed the
distance they had marched since to amount to about five more, so they made the
whole breadth to be fifteen miles in all.141.

23d. It was very
reasonable that the surveyors, and the men who had been sharers in their
fatigue, should now have a little rest. They were all, except one, in good
health and good heart, blessed be God! notwithstanding the dreadful hardships
they had gone through. It was really a pleasure to see the cheerfulness
wherewith they received the order to prepare to re-enter the Dismal on the
Monday following, in order to continue the line from the place where they had
left off measuring, that so we might have the exact breadth of that dirty
place. There were no more than two of them that could be persuaded to be
relieved on this occasion, or suffer the other men to share the credit of that
bold undertaking, neither would these have suffered it had not one of them been
very lame, and the other much indisposed. By the description the surveyors gave
of the Dismal, we were convinced that nothing but the exceeding dry season we
had been blessed with could have made the passing of it practicable. It is the
source of no less than five several rivers which discharge themselves southwest
into Albemarle sound, and of two that run northerly into Virginia. From thence
it is easy to imagine that the soil must be thoroughly soaked with water, or
else there must be plentiful stores of it under ground; to supply so many
rivers; especially since there is no lake, or any considerable body of that
element to be seen on the surface. The rivers that head in it from Virginia are
the south branch of Nansemond, and the west branch of Elizabeth; and those from
Carolina are North-west river, North river, Pasquotank, Little river, and

There is one remarkable part of the Dismal, lying to
the south of the line, that has few or no trees growing on it, but contains a
large tract of tall reeds. These being green all the year round, and wavering
with every wind, have procured it the name of the Green sea. We are not yet
acquainted with the precise extent of the Dismal, the whole having never been
surveyed; but it may be computed at a medium to be about thirty miles long and
ten miles broad, though where the line crossed it, it was completely fifteen
miles wide. But it seems to grow narrower towards the north, or at least does
so in many places. The exhalations that continually rise from this vast body of
mire and nastiness infect the air for many miles round, and render it very
unwholesome for the bordering inhabitants. It makes them liable to agues,
pleurisies, and many other distempers, that kill abundance of people, and make
the rest look no better than ghosts. It would require a great sum of money to
drain it, but the public treasure could not be better bestowed, than to
preserve the lives of his majesty’s liege people, and at the same time render
so great a tract of swamp very profitable, besides the advantage of making a
channel to transport by water carriage goods from Albemarle sound into
Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers, in Virginia.143.

24th. This being
Sunday, we had a numerous congregation, which flocked to our quarters from all
the adjacent country. The news that our surveyors were come out of the Dismal,
increased the number very much, because it would give them an opportunity of
guessing, at least, whereabouts the line would cut, whereby they might form
some judgment whether they belonged to Virginia or Carolina. Those who had
taken up land within the disputed bounds were in great pain lest it should be
found to lie in Virginia; because this being done contrary to an express order
of that government, the patentees had great reason to fear they should in that
case have lost their land. But their apprehensions were now at an end, when
they understood that all the territory which had been controverted was like to
be left in Carolina. In the afternoon, those who were to re-enter the Dismal
were furnished with the necessary provisions, and ordered to repair the
over-night to their landlord, Peter Brinkley’s, that they might be ready to
begin their business early on Monday morning. Mr. Irvin was excused from the
fatigue, in compliment to his lungs; but Mr. Mayo and Mr. Swan were robust
enough to return upon that painful service, and, to do them justice, they went
with great alacrity. The truth was, they now knew the worst of it; and could
guess pretty near at the time when they might hope to return to land again.144.

25th. The air was chilled this morning with a smart north-west wind,
which favoured the Dismalites in their dirty march. They returned by the path
they had made in coming out, and with great industry arrived in the evening at
the spot where the line had been discontinued. After so long and laborious a
journey, they were glad to repose themselves on their couches of cypress-bark,
where their sleep was as sweet as it would have been on a bed of Finland down.
In the mean time, we who stayed behind had nothing to do, but to make the best
observations we could upon that part of the country. The soil of our landlord’s
plantation, though none of the best, seemed more fertile than any thereabouts,
where the ground is near as sandy as the deserts of Africa, and consequently
barren. The road leading from thence to Edenton, being in distance about
twenty-seven miles, lies upon a ridge called Sandy ridge, which is so
wretchedly poor that it will not bring potatoes. The pines in this part of the
country are of a different species from those that grow in Virginia: their
bearded leaves are much longer and their cones much larger. Each cell contains
a seed of the size and figure of a black-eye pea, which, shedding in November,
is very good mast for hogs, and fattens them in a short time. The smallest of
these pines are full of cones, which are eight or nine inches long, and each
affords commonly sixty or seventy seeds. This kind of mast has the advantage of
all other, by being more constant, and less liable to be nipped by the frost,
or eaten by the caterpillars. The trees also abound more with turpentine, and
consequently yield more tar, than either the yellow or the white pine; and for
the same reason make more durable timber for building. The inhabitants
hereabouts pick up knots of lightwood in abundance, which they burn into tar,
and then carry it to Norfolk or Nansemond for a market. The tar made in this
method is the less valuable, because it is said to burn the cordage, though it
is full as good for all other uses, as that made in Sweden and Muscovy. Surely
there is no place in the world where the inhabitants live with less labour than
in North Carolina. It approaches nearer to the description of Lubberland than
any other, by the great felicity of the climate, the easiness of raising
provisions, and the slothfulness of the people. Indian corn is of so great
increase, that a little pains will subsist a very large family with bread, and
then they may have meat without any pains at all, by the help of the low
grounds, and the great variety of mast that grows on the high land. The men,
for their parts, just like the Indians, impose all the work upon the poor
women. They make their wives rise out of their beds early in the morning, at
the same time that they lie and snore, till the sun has risen one third of his
course, and dispersed all the unwholesome damps. Then, after stretching and
yawning for half an hour, they light their pipes, and, under the protection of
a cloud of smoke, venture out into the open air; though, if it happens to be
never so little cold, they quickly return shivering into the chimney corner.
When the weather is mild, they stand leaning with both their arms upon the
corn-field fence, and gravely consider whether they had best go and take a
small heat at the hoe: but generally find reasons to put it off till another
time. Thus they loiter away their lives, like Solomon’s sluggard, with their
arms across, and at the winding up of the year scarcely have bread to eat. To
speak the truth, it is a thorough aversion to labor that makes people file off
to North Carolina, where plenty and a warm sun confirm them in their
disposition to laziness for their whole lives.145.

26th. Since we
were like to be confined to this place, till the people returned out of the
Dismal, it was agreed that our chaplain might safely take a turn to Edenton, to
preach the Gospel to the infidels there, and christen their children. He was
accompanied thither by Mr. Little, one of the Carolina commissioners, who, to
show his regard for the church, offered to treat him on the road with a
fricassee of rum. They fried half a dozen rashers of very fat bacon in a pint
of rum, both which being dished up together, served the company at once both
for meat and drink. Most of the rum they get in this country comes from New
England, and is so bad and unwholesome, that it is not improperly called
“kill-devil.” It is distilled there from foreign molasses, which,
if skilfully managed, yields near gallon for gallon. Their molasses comes from
the same country, and has the name of “long sugar” in Carolina, I
suppose from the ropiness of it, and serves all the purposes of sugar, both in
their eating and drinking. When they entertain their friends bountifully, they
fail not to set before them a capacious bowl of Bombo, so called from the
admiral of that name. This is a compound of rum and water in equal parts, made
palatable with the said long sugar. As good humour begins to flow, and the bowl
to ebb, they take care to replenish it with sheer rum, of which there always is
a reserve under the table. But such generous doings happen only when that
balsam of life is plenty; for they have often such melancholy times, that
neither landgraves nor cassiques can procure one drop for their wives, when
they lie in, or are troubled with the colic or vapours. Very few in this
country have the industry to plant orchards, which, in a dearth of rum, might
supply them with much better liquor. The truth is, there is one inconvenience
that easily discourages lazy people from making this improvement: very often,
in autumn, when the apples begin to ripen, they are visited with numerous
flights of paroquets, that bite all the fruit to pieces in a moment, for the
sake of the kernels. The havoc they make is sometimes so great, that whole
orchards are laid waste in spite of all the noises that can be made, or mawkins
that can be dressed up, to fright them away. These ravenous birds visit North
Carolina only during the warm season, and so soon as the cold begins to come
on, retire back towards the sun. They rarely venture so far north as Virginia,
except in a very hot summer, when they visit the most southern parts of it.
They are very beautiful; but like some other pretty creatures; are apt to be
loud and mischievous.146.

27th. Betwixt this and Edenton there are
many whortleberry slashes, which afford a convenient harbour for wolves and
foxes. The first of these wild beasts is not so large and fierce as they are in
other countries more northerly. He will not attack a man in the keenest of his
hunger, but run away from him, as from an animal more mischievous than himself.
The foxes are much bolder, and will sometimes not only make a stand, but
likewise assault any one that would balk them of their prey. The inhabitants
hereabouts take the trouble to dig abundance of wolf-pits, so deep and
perpendicular, that when a wolf is once tempted into them, he can no more
scramble out again, than a husband who has taken the leap can scramble out of
matrimony. Most of the houses in this part of the country are log-houses,
covered with pine or cypress shingles, three feet long, and one broad. They are
hung upon laths with pegs, and their doors too turn upon wooden hinges, and
have wooden locks to secure them, so that the building is finished without
nails or other iron work. They also set up their pales without any nails at
all, and indeed more securely than those that are nailed. There are three rails
mortised into the posts, the lowest of which serves as a sill with a groove in
the middle, big enough to receive the end of the pales: the middle part of the
pale rests against the inside of the next rail, and the top of it is brought
forward to the outside of the uppermost. Such wreathing of the pales in and out
makes them stand firm, and much harder to unfix than when nailed in the
ordinary way.147.

Within three or four miles of Edenton, the soil
appears to be a little more fertile, though it is much cut with slashes, which
seem all to have a tendency towards the Dismal. This town is situated on the
north side of Albemarle sound, which is there about five miles over. A dirty
slash runs all along the back of it, which in the summer is a foul annoyance,
and furnishes abundance of that Carolina plague, mosquitoes. There may be forty
or fifty houses, most of them small, and built without expense. A citizen here
is counted extravagant, if he has ambition enough to aspire to a brick chimney.
Justice herself is but indifferently lodged, the court-house having much the
air of a common tobacco-house. I believe this is the only metropolis in the
Christian or Mahometan world, where there is neither church, chapel, mosque,
synagogue, or any other place of public worship of any sect or religion
whatsoever. What little devotion there may happen to be is much more private
than their vices. The people seem easy without a minister, as long as they are
exempted from paying him. Sometimes the Society for propagating the Gospel has
had the charity to send over missionaries to this country; but unfortunately
the priest has been too lewd for the people, or, which oftener happens, they
too lewd for the priest. For these reasons these reverend gentlemen have always
left their flocks as arrant heathen as they found them. Thus much however may
be said for the inhabitants of Edenton, that not a soul has the least taint of
hyprocrisy, or superstition, acting very frankly and above-board in all their

Provisions here are extremely cheap, and extremely
good, so that people may live plentifully at a trifling expense. Nothing is
dear but law, physic, and strong drink, which are all bad in their kind, and
the last they get with so much difficulty, that they are never guilty of the
sin of suffering it to sour upon their hands. Their vanity generally lies not
so much in having a handsome dining-room, as a handsome house of office: in
this kind of structure they are really extravagant. They are rarely guilty of
flattering or making any court to their governors, but treat them with all the
excesses of freedom and familiarity. They are of opinion their rulers would be
apt to grow insolent, if they grew rich, and for that reason take care to keep
them poorer, and more dependent, if possible, than the saints in New England
used to do their governors. They have very little corn, so they are forced to
carry on their home traffic with paper money. This is the only cash that will
tarry in the country, and for that reason the discount goes on increasing
between that and real money, and will do so to the end of the chapter.149.

28th. Our time passed heavily in our quarters, where we were quite
cloyed with the Carolina felicity of having nothing to do. It was really more
insupportable than the greatest fatigue, and made us even envy the drudgery of
our friends in the Dismal. Besides, though the men we had with us were kept in
exact discipline, and behaved without reproach, yet our landlord began to be
tired of them, fearing they would breed a famine in his family. Indeed, so many
keen stomachs made great havoc amongst the beef and bacon which he had laid in
for his summer provision, nor could he easily purchase more, at that time of
the year, with the money we paid him, because people having no certain market
seldom provide any more of these commodities than will barely supply their own
occasions. Besides the weather was now grown too warm to lay in a fresh stock
so late in the spring. These considerations abated somewhat of that
cheerfulness with which he bade us welcome in the beginning, and made him think
the time quite as long as we did until the surveyors returned. While we were
thus all hands uneasy, we were comforted with the news that this afternoon the
line was finished through the Dismal. The messenger told us it had been the
hard work of three days to measure the length of only five miles, and mark the
trees as they passed along, and by the most exact survey they found the breadth
of the Dismal in this place to be completely fifteen miles. How wide it may be
in other parts, we can give no account, but believe it grows narrower towards
the north; possibly towards Albemarle sound it may be something broader, where
so many rivers issue out of it. All we know for certain is, that from the place
where the line entered the Dismal, to where it came out, we found the road
round that portion of it which belonged to Virginia to be about sixty-five
miles. How great the distance may be from each of those points, round that part
that falls within the bounds of Carolina, we had no certain information: though
it is conjectured it cannot be so little as thirty miles. At which rate the
whole circuit must be about a hundred. What a mass of mud and dirt is treasured
up within this filthy circumference, and what a quantity of water must
perpetually drain into it from the rising ground that surrounds it on every
side? Without taking the exact level of the Dismal, we may be sure that it
declines towards the places where the several rivers take their rise, in order
to carrying off the constant supplies of water. Were it not for such
discharges, the whole swamp would long since have been converted into a lake.
On the other side this declension must be very gentle, else it would be laid
perfectly dry by so many continual drains; whereas, on the contrary, the ground
seems every where to be thoroughly drenched even in the driest season of the
year. The surveyors concluded this day’s work with running twenty-five chains
up into the firm land, where they waited further orders from the

29th. This day the surveyors proceeded with the
line no more than one mile and fifteen chains, being interrupted by a mill
swamp, through which they made no difficulty of wading, in order to make their
work more exact. Thus, like Norway mice, these worthy gentlemen went right
forward, without suffering themselves to be turned out of the way by any
obstacle whatever. We are told by some travellers, that those mice march in
mighty armies, destroying all the fruits of the earth as they go along. But
something peculiar to those obstinate little animals is, that nothing stops
them in their career, and if a house happen to stand in their way, disdaining
to go an inch about, they crawl up one side of it, and down the other: or if
they meet with any river, or other body of water, they are so determined, that
they swim directly over it, without varying one point from their course for the
sake of any safety or convenience. The surveyors were also hindered some time
by setting up posts in the great road, to show the bounds between the two

Our chaplain returned to us in the evening from
Edenton, in company with the Carolina commissioners. He had preached there in
the court-house, for want of a consecrated place, and made no less than
nineteen of father Hennepin’s Christians.152.

By the permission of
the Carolina commissioners, Mr. Swan was allowed to go home, as soon as the
survey of the Dismal was finished; he met with this indulgence for a reason
that might very well have excused his coming at all; namely, that he was lately
married. What remained of the drudgery for this season was left to Mr. Mosely,
who had hitherto acted only in the capacity of a commissioner. They offered to
employ Mr. Joseph Mayo as their surveyor in Mr. Swan’s stead, but he thought it
not proper to accept of it, because he had hitherto acted as a volunteer in
behalf of Virginia, and did not care to change sides, though it might have been
to his advantage.153.

30th. The line was advanced this day six miles
and thirty-five chains, the woods being pretty clear, and interrupted with no
swamp, or other wet ground. The land hereabout had all the marks of poverty,
being for the most part sandy and full of pines. This kind of ground, though
unfit for ordinary tillage, will however bring cotton and pototoes in plenty,
and consequently food and raiment to such as are easily contented, and, like
the wild Irish, find more pleasure in laziness than luxury. It also makes a
shift to produce Indian corn, rather by the felicity of the climate than by the
fertility of the soil. They who are more industrious than their neighbours may
make what quantity of tar they please, though indeed they are not always sure
of a market for it. The method of burning tar in Sweden and Muscovy succeeds
not well in this warmer part of the world. It seems they kill the pine trees,
by barking them quite round at a certain height, which in those cold countries
brings down the turpentine into the stump in a year’s time. But experience has
taught us that in warm climates the turpentine will not so easily descend, but
is either fixed in the upper parts of the tree, or fried out by the intense
heat of the sun.154.

Care was taken to erect a post in every road
that our line ran through, with Virginia carved on the north side of it, and
Carolina on the south, that the bounds might every where appear. In the evening
the surveyors took up their quarters at the house of one Mr. Parker, who, by
the advantage of a better spot of land than ordinary, and a more industrious
wife, lives comfortably, and has a very neat plantation.155.

It rained a little this morning, but this, happening again upon a Sunday, did
not interrupt our business. However the surveyors made no scruple of
protracting and plotting off their work upon that good day, because it was
rather an amusement than a drudgery. Here the men feasted on the fat of the
land, and believing the dirtiest part of their work was over, had a more than
ordinary gaiety of heart. We christened two of our landlord’s children, which
might have remained infidels all their lives, had not we carried Christianity
home to his own door. The truth of it is, our neighbours of North Carolina are
not so zealous as to go much out of their way to procure this benefit for their
children: otherwise, being so near Virginia, they might, without exceeding much
trouble, make a journey to the next clergyman, upon so good an errand. And
indeed should the neighbouring ministers, once in two or three years, vouchsafe
to take a turn among these gentiles, to baptize them and their children, it
would look a little apostolical, and they might hope to be requited for at
hereafter, if that be not thought too long to tarry for their reward.156.

April 1st. The surveyors getting now upon better ground, quite
disengaged from underwoods, pushed on the line almost twelve miles. They left
Sommerton chapel near two miles to the northwards, so that there was now no
place of public worship left in the whole province of North Carolina.157.

The high land of North Carolina was barren, and covered with a deep
sand; and the low grounds were wet and boggy, insomuch that several of our
horses were mired, and gave us frequent opportunities to show our

The line cut William Spight’s plantation in two,
leaving little more than his dwelling house and orchard in Virginia. Sundry
other plantations were split in the same unlucky manner, which made the owners
accountable to both governments. Wherever we passed we constantly found the
borderers laid it to heart if their land was taken into Virginia: they chose
much rather to belong to Carolina, where they pay no tribute, either to God or
to Candaelig;sar. Another reason was, that the government there is so loose,
and the laws are so feebly executed, that, like those in the neighbourhood of
Sidon formerly, every one does just what seems good in his own eyes. If the
governor’s hands have been weak in that province, under the authority of the
lords proprietors, much weaker then were the hands of the magistrate, who,
though he might have had virtue enough to endeavour to punish offenders, which
very rarely happened, yet that virtue had been quite impotent, for want of
ability to put it in execution. Besides, there might have been some danger,
perhaps, in venturing to be so rigorous, for fear of undergoing the fate of an
honest justice in Coratuck precinct. This bold magistrate, it seems, taking
upon him to order a fellow to the stocks, for being disorderly in his drink,
was, for his intemperate zeal, carried thither himself, and narrowly escaped
being whipped by the rabble into the bargain.159.

This easy day’s
work carried the line to the banks of Somerton creek, that runs out of Chowan
river, a little below the mouth of Nottoway.160.

2d. In less than a
mile from Somerton creek the line was carried to Blackwater, which is the name
of the upper part of Chowan, running some miles above the mouth of Nottoway. It
must be observed that Chowan, after taking a compass round the most beautiful
part of North Carolina, empties itself into Albemarle sound, a few miles above
Edenton. The tide flows seven or eight miles higher than where the river
changes its name, and is navigable thus high for any small vessel. Our line
intersected it exactly half a mile to the northward of Nottoway. However, in
obedience to his majesty’s command, we directed the surveyors to come down the
river as far as the mouth of Nottoway, in order to continue our true west line
from thence. Thus we found the mouth of Nottoway to lie no more than half a
minute farther to the northward than Mr. Lawson had formerly done. That
gentleman’s observation, it seems, placed it in 36anddeg; 30′, and our working
made it out to be 36anddeg; 30andfrac12; ‘–a very inconsiderable
variance. 161.

The surveyors crossed the river over against the
middle of the mouth of Nottoway, where it was about eighty yards wide. From
thence they ran the line about half a mile through a dirty pocoson, as far as
an Indian field. Here we took up our lodging in a moist situation, having the
pocoson above mentioned on one side of us, and a swamp on the other.162.

In this camp three of the Meherrin Indians made us a visit. They
told us that the small remains of their nation had deserted their ancient town,
situated near the mouth of the Meherrin river, for fear of the Catawbas, who
had killed fourteen of their people the year before; and the few that survived
that calamity, had taken refuge amongst the English, on the east side of
Chowan. Though, if the complaint of these Indians were true, they are hardly
used by our Carolina friends. But they are the less to be pitied, because they
have ever been reputed the most false and treacherous to the English of all the
Indians in the neighbourhood.163.

Not far from the place where we
lay, I observed a large oak which had been blown up by the roots, the body of
which was shivered into perfect strings, and was, in truth, the most violent
effects of lightning I ever saw.164.

But the most curious instance
of that dreadful meteor happened at York, where a man was killed near a pine
tree in which the lightning made a hole before it struck the man, and left an
exact figure of the tree upon his breast, with all its branches, to the wonder
of all that beheld it, in which I shall be more particular hereafter.165.

We made another trial of the variation in this place, and found it
some minutes less than we had done at Coratuck inlet; but so small a difference
might easily happen through some defect in one or other of the observations,
and, therefore, we altered not our compass for the matter.166.

By the advantage of clear woods, the line was extended twelve miles and three
quarters, as far as the banks of Meherrin. Though the mouth of this river lies
fifteen miles below the mouth of Nottoway, yet it winds so much to the
northward, that we came upon it, after running this small distance.167.

During the first seven miles, we observed the soil to be poor and
sandy; but as we approached Meherrin it grew better, though there it was cut to
pieces by sundry miry branches, which discharge themselves into that river,
Several of our horses plunged up to the saddle skirts, and were not disengaged
without difficulty.168.

The latter part of our day’s work was pretty
laborious, because of the unevenness of the way, and because the low ground of
the river was full of cypress snags, as sharp and dangerous to our horses as so
many chevaux-defrise. We found the whole distance from the mouth of Nottoway to
Meherrin river, where our line intersected it, thirteen miles and a

It was hardly possible to find a level large enough on
the banks of the river whereupon to pitch our tent. But though the situation
was, on that account, not very convenient for us, yet it was for our poor
horses, by reason of the plenty of small reeds on which they fed voraciously.
These reeds are green here all the year round, and will keep cattle in
tolerable good plight during the winter. But whenever the hogs come where they
are, they destroy them in a short time, by ploughing up their roots, of which,
unluckily, they are very fond.170.

The river was in this place about
as wide as the river Jordan, that is, forty yards, and would be navigable very
high for flat bottom boats and canoes, if it were not choked up with large
trees, brought down by every fresh. Though the banks were full twenty feet high
from the surface of the water, yet we saw certain marks of their having been

These narrow rivers that run high up into the
country are subject to frequent inundations, when the waters are rolled down
with such violence as to carry all before them. The logs that are then floated,
are very fatal to the bridges built over these rivers, which can hardly be
contrived strong enough to stand against so much weight and violence joined

The Isle of Wight county begins about three miles to
the east of Meherrin river, being divided from that of Nansemond only by a line
of marked trees.173.

4th. The river was here hardly fordable, though
the season had been very dry. The banks too were so steep that our horses were
forced to climb like mules to get up them. Nevertheless we had the luck to
recover the opposite shore without damage.174.

We halted for half an
hour at Charles Anderson’s, who lives on the western bank of the river, in
order to christen one of his children. In the mean time, the surveyors extended
the line two miles and thirty-nine chains, in which small distance Meherrin
river was so serpentine, that they crossed it three times. Then we went on to
Mr. Kinchin’s, a man of figure and authority in North Carolina, who lives about
a mile to the southward of the place where the surveyors left off. By the
benefit of a little pains, and good management, this worthy magistrate lives in
much affluence. Amongst other instances of his industry, he had planted a good
orchard, which is not common in that indolent climate; nor is it at all
strange, that such improvident people, who take no thought for the morrow,
should save themselves the trouble to make improvements that will not pay them
for several years to come. Though, if they could trust futurity for any thing,
they certainly would for cider, which they are so fond of, that they generally
drink it before it has done working, lest the fermentation might unluckily turn
it sour.175.

It is an observation, which rarely fails of being true,
both in Virginia and Carolina, that those who take care to plant good orchards
are, in their general characters, industrious people. This held good in our
landlord, who had many houses built on his plantation, and every one kept in
decent repair. His wife, too, was tidy, his furniture clean, his pewter bright,
and nothing seemed to be wanting to make his home comfortable.176.

Mr. Kinchin made us the compliment of his house, but because we were
willing to be as little troublesome as possible, we ordered the tent to be
pitched in his orchard, where the blossoms of the apple trees contributed not a
little to the sweetness of our lodging.177.

5th. Because the spring
was now pretty forward, and the rattlesnakes began to crawl out of their winter
quarters, and might grow dangerous, both to the men and their horses, it was
determined to proceed no farther with the line till the fall. Besides, the
uncommon fatigue the people had undergone for near six weeks together, and the
inclination they all had to visit their respective families, made a recess
highly reasonable.178.

The surveyors were employed great part of the
day, in forming a correct and elegant map of the line, from Coratuck inlet to
the place where they left off. On casting up the account in the most accurate
manner, they found the whole distance we had run to amount to seventy three
miles and thirteen chains. Of the map they made two fair copies, which agreeing
exactly, were subscribed by the commissioners of both colonies, and one of them
was delivered to those on the part of Virginia, and the other to those on the
part of North Carolina.179.

6th. Thus we finished our spring
campaign, and having taken leave of our Carolina friends, and agreed to meet
them again the tenth of September following, at the same Mr. Kinchin’s, in
order to continue the line, we crossed Meherrin river near a quarter of a mile
from the house. About ten miles from that we halted at Mr. Kindred’s
plantation, where we christened two children.180.

It happened that
some of Isle of Wight militia were exercising in the adjoining pasture, and
there were females enough attending that martial appearance to form a more
invincible corps. Ten miles farther we passed Nottoway river at Bolton’s ferry,
and took up our lodgings about three miles from thence, at the house of Richard
Parker, an honest planter, whose labours were rewarded with plenty, which, in
this country, is the constant portion of the industrious.181.

The next day being Sunday, we ordered notice to be sent to all the
neighbourhood that there would be a sermon at this place, and an opportunity of
christening their children. But the likelihood of rain got the better of their
devotion, and what, perhaps, might still be a stronger motive of their
curiosity. In the morning we despatched a runner to the Nottoway town, to let
the Indians know we intended them a visit that evening, and our honest landlord
was so kind as to be our pilot thither, being about four miles from his house.
Accordingly in the afternoon we marched in good order to the town, where the
female scouts, stationed on an eminence for that purpose, had no sooner spied
us, but they gave notice of our approach to their fellow citizens by continual
whoops and cries, which could not possibly have been more dismal at the sight
of their most implacable enemies. This signal assembled all their great men,
who received us in a body, and conducted us into the fort. This fort was a
square piece of ground, inclosed with substantial puncheons, or strong
palisades, about ten feet high, and leaning a little outwards, to make a
scalade more difficult. Each side of the square might be about a hundred yards
long, with loop-holes at proper distances, through which they may fire upon the
enemy. Within this inclosure we found bark cabins sufficient to lodge all their
people, in case they should be obliged to retire thither. These cabins are no
other but close arbours made of saplings, arched at the top, and covered so
well with bark as to be proof against all weather. The fire is made in the
middle, according to the Hibernian fashion, the smoke whereof finds no other
vent but at the door, and so keeps the whole family warm, at the expense both
of their eyes and complexion. The Indians have no standing furniture in their
cabins but hurdles to repose their persons upon, which they cover with mats and
deer-skins. We were conducted to the best apartments in the fort, which just
before had been made ready for our reception, and adorned with new mats, that
were very sweet and clean. The young men had painted themselves in a hideous
manner, not so much for ornament as terror. In that frightful equipage they
entertained us with sundry war dances, wherein they endeavoured to look as
formidable as possible. The instrument they danced to was an Indian drum, that
is, a large gourd with a skin braced tight over the mouth of it. The dancers
all sang to the music, keeping exact time with their feet, while their heads
and arms were screwed into a thousand menacing postures. Upon this occasion the
ladies had arrayed themselves in all their finery. They were wrapped in their
red and blue match coats, thrown so negligently about them, that their mahogany
skins appeared in several parts, like the Lacedandaelig;monian damsels of old.
Their hair was braided with white and blue peak, and hung gracefully in a large
roll upon their shoulders.182.

This peak consists of small cylinders
cut out of a conch shell, drilled through and strung like beads. It serves them
both for money and jewels, the blue being of much greater value than the white,
for the same reason that Ethiopian mistresses in France are dearer than French,
because they are more scarce. The women wear necklaces and bracelets of these
precious materials, when they have a mind to appear lovely. Though their
complexions be a little sad-coloured, yet their shapes are very strait and well
proportioned. Their faces are seldom handsome, yet they have an air of
innocence and bashfulness, that with a little less dirt would not fail to make
them desirable. Such charms might have had their full effect upon men who had
been so long deprived of female conversation, but that the whole winter’s soil
was so crusted on the skins of those dark angels, that it required a very
strong appetite to approach them. The bear’s oil, with which they anoint their
persons all over, makes their skins soft, and at the same time protects them
from every species of vermin that use to be troublesome to other uncleanly
people. We were unluckily so many, that they could not well make us the
compliment of bed-fellows, according to the Indian rules of hospitality, though
a grave matron whispered one of the commissioners very civilly in the ear, that
if her daughter had been but one year older, she should have been at his

It is by no means a loss of reputation among the
Indians, for damsels that are single to have intrigues with the men; on the
contrary, they account it an argument of superior merit to be liked by a great
number of gallants. However, like the ladies that game, they are a little
mercenary in their amours, and seldom bestow their favours out of stark love
and kindness. But after these women have once appropriated their charms by
marriage, they are from thenceforth faithful to their vows, and will hardly
ever be tempted by an agreeable gallant, or be provoked by a brutal or even by
a careless husband to go astray. The little work that is done among the Indians
is done by the poor women, while the men are quite idle, or at most employed
only in the gentlemanly diversions of hunting and fishing. In this, as well as
in their wars, they use nothing but fire-arms, which they purchase of the
English for skins. Bows and arrows are grown into disuse, except only amongst
their boys. Nor is it ill policy, but on the contrary very prudent, thus to
furnish the Indians with fire-arms, because it makes them depend entirely upon
the English, not only for their trade, but even for their subsistence. Besides,
they were really able to do more mischief, while they made use of arrows, of
which they would let silently fly several in a minute with wonderful dexterity,
whereas now they hardly ever discharge their fire-locks more than once, which
they insidiously do from behind a tree, and then retire as nimbly as the Dutch
horse used to do now and then formerly in Flanders. We put the Indians to no
expense, but only of a little corn for our horses, for which in gratitude we
cheered their hearts with what rum we had left, which they love better than
they do their wives and children. Though these Indians dwell among the English,
and see in what plenty a little industry enables them to live, yet they choose
to continue in their stupid idleness, and to suffer all the inconveniences of
dirt, cold and want, rather than to disturb their heads with care, or defile
their hands with labour.184.

The whole number of people belonging to
the Nottoway town, if you include women and children, amount to about two
hundred. These are the only Indians of any consequence now remaining within the
limits of Virginia. The rest are either removed, or dwindled to a very
inconsiderable number, either by destroying one another, or else by the
small-pox and other diseases. Though nothing has been so fatal to them as their
ungovernable passion for rum, with which, I am sorry to say it, they have been
but too liberally supplied by the English that live near them. And here I must
lament the bad success Mr. Boyle’s charity has hitherto had towards converting
any of these poor heathens to Christianity. Many children of our neighbouring
Indians have been brought up in the college of William and Mary. They have been
taught to read and write, and have been carefully instructed in the principles
of the Christian religion, till they came to be men. Yet after they returned
home, instead of civilizing and converting the rest, they have immediately
relapsed into infidelity and barbarism themselves.185.

And some of
them too have made the worst use of the knowledge they acquired among the
English, by employing it against their benefactors. Besides, as they unhappily
forget all the good they learn, and remember the ill, they are apt to be more
vicious and disorderly than the rest of their countrymen. I ought not to quit
this subject without doing justice to the great prudence of colonel Spotswood
in this affair. That gentleman was lieutenant governor of Virginia when
Carolina was engaged in a bloody war with the Indians. At that critical time it
was thought expedient to keep a watchful eye upon our tributary savages, who we
knew had nothing to keep them to their duty but their fears. Then it was that
he demanded of each nation a competent number of their great men’s children to
be sent to the college, where they served as so many hostages for the good
behaviour of the rest, and at the same time were themselves principled in the
Christian religion. He also placed a school master among the Saponi Indians, at
the salary of fifty pounds per annum, to instruct their children. The person
that undertook that charitable work was Mr. Charles Griffin, a man of a good
family, who, by the innocence of his life, and the sweetness of his temper, was
perfectly well qualified for that pious undertaking. Besides, he had so much
the secret of mixing pleasure with instruction, that he had not a scholar who
did not love him affectionately. Such talents must needs have been blest with a
proportionable success, had he not been unluckily removed to the college, by
which he left the good work he had begun unfinished. In short, all the pains he
had taken among the infidels had no other effect but to make them something
cleanlier than other Indians are. The care colonel Spotswood took to tincture
the Indian children with Christianity produced the following epigram, which was
not published during his administration, for fear it might then have looked
like flattery.186.

Long has the furious
priest assayed in vain, 
With sword and faggot, infidels to
But now the milder soldier wisely tries 
gentler methods to unveil their eyes. 
Wonders apart, he knew
’twere vain t’engage5.
The fix’d preventions of misguided age. 
With fairer hopes he forms the Indian youth 
To early
manners, probity and truth. 
The lion’s whelp thus, on the Lybian
Is tamed and gentled by the artful Moor,10.
the grim sire, inured to blood before. 

I am
sorry I cannot give a better account of the state of the poor Indians with
respect to Christianity, although a great deal of pains has been and still
continues to be taken with them. For my part, I must be of opinion, as I hinted
before, that there is but one way of converting these poor infidels, and
reclaiming them from barbarity, and that is, charitably to intermarry with
them, according to the modern policy of the most Christian king in Canada and
Louisiana. Had the English done this at the first settlement of the colony, the
infidelity of the Indians had been worn out at this day, with their dark
complexions, and the country had swarmed with people more than it does with
insects. It was certainly an unreasonable nicety, that prevented their entering
into so good-natured an alliance. All nations of men have the same natural
dignity, and we all know that very bright talents may be lodged under a very
dark skin. The principal difference between one people and another proceeds
only from the different opportunities of improvement. The Indians by no means
want understanding, and are in their figure tall and well-proportioned. Even
their copper-coloured complexion would admit of blanching, if not in the first,
at the farthest in the second generation. I may safely venture to say, the
Indian women would have made altogether as honest wives for the first planters,
as the damsels they used to purchase from aboard the ships. It is strange,
therefore, that any good Christian should have refused a wholesome, straight
bed-fellow, when he might have had so fair a portion with her, as the merit of
saving her soul.187.

8th. We rested on our clean mats very
comfortably, though alone, and the next morning went to the toilet of some of
the Indian ladies, where, what with the charms of their persons and the smoke
of their apartments, we were almost blinded. They offered to give us silk-grass
baskets of their own making, which we modestly refused, knowing that an Indian
present, like that of a nun, is a liberality put out to interest, and a bribe
placed to the greatest advantage. Our chaplain observed with concern, that the
ruffles of some of our fellow travellers were a little discoloured with
pochoon, wherewith the good man had been told those ladies used to improve
their invisible charms.188.

About 10 o’clock we marched out of town
in good order, and the war captains saluted us with a volley of small arms.
From thence we proceeded over Black-water bridge to colonel Henry Harrison’s,
where we congratulated each other upon our return into Christendom.189.

Thus ended our progress for this season, which we may justly say was
attended with all the success that could be expected. Besides the punctual
performance of what was committed to us, we had the pleasure to bring back
every one of our company in perfect health. And this we must acknowledge to be
a singular blessing, considering the difficulties and dangers to which they had
been exposed. We had reason to fear the many waters and sunken grounds, through
which we were obliged to wade, might have thrown the men into sundry acute
distempers; especially the Dismal, where the soil was so full of water, and the
air so full of damps, that nothing but a Dutchman could live in them. Indeed
the foundation of all our success was the exceeding dry season. It rained
during the whole journey but rarely, and then, as when Herod built his temple,
only in the night or upon the sabbath, when it was no hinderance at all to our

September. The tenth of September being thought a
little too soon for the commissioners to meet, in order to proceed on the line,
on account of snakes, it was agreed to put it off to the twentieth of the same
month, of which due notice was sent to the Carolina commissioners.191.

Sept. 19. We, on the part of Virginia, that we might be sure to be
punctual, arrived at Mr. Kinchin’s, the place appointed, on the nineteenth,
after a journey of three days, in which nothing remarkable happened. We found
three of the Carolina commissioners had taken possession of the house, having
come thither by water from Edenton. By the great quantity of provisions these
gentlemen brought, and the few men they had to eat them, we were afraid they
intended to carry the line to the South sea. They had five hundred pounds of
bacon and dried beef, and five hundred pounds of biscuit, and not above three
or four men. The misfortune was, they forgot to provide horses to carry their
good things, or else trusted to the uncertainty of hiring them here, which,
considering the place, was leaving too much to that jilt, hazard. On our part
we had taken better care, being completely furnished with every thing necessary
for transporting our baggage and provisions. Indeed we brought no other
provisions out with us but a thousand pounds of bread, and had faith enough to
depend on Providence for our meat, being desirous to husband the public money
as much as possible. We had no less than twenty men, besides the chaplain, the
surveyors and all the servants, to be subsisted upon this bread. However, that
it might hold out the better, our men had been ordered to provide themselves at
home with provision for ten days, in which time we judged we should get beyond
the inhabitants, where forest game of all sorts was like to be plenty at that
time of the year.192.

20th. This being the day appointed for our
rendezvous, great part of it was spent in the careful fixing our baggage and
assembling our men, who were ordered to meet us here. We took care to examine
their arms, and made proof of the powder provided for the expedition. Our
provision-horses had been hindered by the rain from coming up exactly at the
day; but this delay was the less disappointment, by reason of the ten days’
subsistence the men had been directed to provide for themselves. Mr. Moseley
did not join us till the afternoon, nor Mr. Swan till several days after.193.

Mr. Kinchin had unadvisedly sold the men a little brandy of his own
making, which produced much disorder, causing some to be too choleric, and
others too loving; insomuch that a damsel, who assisted in the kitchen, had
certainly suffered what the nuns call martyrdom, had she not capitulated a
little too soon. This outrage would have called for some severe discipline, had
she not bashfully withdrawn herself early in the morning, and so carried off
the evidence.194.

21st. We despatched away the surveyors without
loss of time, who, with all their diligence, could carry the line no farther
than three miles and a hundred and seventy-six poles, by reason the low ground
was one entire thicket. In that distance they crossed Meherrin river the fourth
time. In the mean while the Virginia commissioners thought proper to conduct
their baggage a farther way about, for the convenience of a clearer road.195.

The Carolina gentlemen did at length, more by fortune than forecast,
hire a clumsy vehicle, something like a cart, to transport their effects as far
as Roanoke. This wretched machine, at first setting out, met with a very rude
choque, that broke a case-bottle of cherry brandy in so unlucky a manner that
not one precious drop was saved. This melancholy beginning foreboded an
unprosperous journey, and too quick a return, to the persons most immediately

In our way we crossed Fountain creek, which runs into
Meherrin river, so called from the disaster of an unfortunate Indian trader who
had formerly been drowned in it, and, like Icarus, left his name to that fatal
stream. We took up our quarters on the plantation of John Hill, where we
pitched our tent, with design to tarry till such time as the surveyors could
work their way to us.197.

22d. This being Sunday, we had an
opportunity of resting from our labours. The expectation of such a novelty as a
sermon in these parts brought together a numerous congregation. When the sermon
was over, our chaplain did his part towards making eleven of them

Several of our men had intermitting fevers, but were
soon restored to their health again by proper remedies. Our chief medicine was
dogwood bark, which we used, instead of that of Peru, with good success.
Indeed, it was given in larger quantity, but then, to make the patients amends,
they swallowed much fewer doses.199.

In the afternoon our provision
horses arrived safe in the camp. They had met with very heavy rains, but, thank
God, not a single biscuit received the least damage thereby. We were furnished
by the neighbours with very lean cheese and very fat mutton, upon which
occasion it will not be improper to draw one conclusion, from the evidence of
North Carolina, that sheep would thrive much better in the woods than in
pasture land, provided a careful shepherd were employed to keep them from
straying, and, by the help of dogs, to protect them also from the wolves.200.

23d. The surveyors came to us at night, though they had not brought
the line so far as our camp, for which reason we thought it needless to go
forward till they came up with us. They could run no more than four miles and
five poles, because the ground was every where grown up with thick bushes. The
soil here appeared to be very good, though much broken betwixt Fountain creek
and Roanoke river. The line crossed Meherrin river the fifth and last time, nor
were our people sorry to part with a stream the meanders of which had given
them so much trouble.201.

Our hunters brought us four wild turkeys,
which at that season began to be fat and very delicious, especially the hens.
These birds seem to be of the bustard kind, and fly heavily. Some of them are
exceedingly large, and weigh upwards of forty pounds; nay, some bold historians
venture to say, upwards of fifty pounds. They run very fast, stretching forth
their wings all the time, like the ostrich, by way of sails to quicken their
speed. They roost commonly upon very high trees, standing near some river or
creek, and are so stupified at the sight of fire, that if you make a blaze in
the night near the place where they roost, you may fire upon them several times
successively, before they will dare to fly away. Their spurs are so sharp and
strong, that the Indians used formerly to point their arrows with them, though
now they point them with a sharp white stone. In the spring the turkey-cocks
begin to gobble, which is the language wherein they make love.202.

It rained very hard in the night, with a violent storm of thunder and
lightning, which obliged us to trench in our tent all round, to carry off the
water that fell upon it.203.

24th. So soon as the men could dry
their blankets, we sent out the surveyors, who now meeting with more favourable
grounds, advanced the line seven miles and eighty-two poles. However, the
commissioners did not think proper to decamp that day, believing they might
easily overtake the surveyors the next. In the mean time they sent out some of
their most expert gunners, who brought in four more wild turkeys.204.

This part of the country being very proper for raising cattle and
hogs, we observed the inhabitants lived in great plenty without killing
themselves with labour. I found near our camp some plants of that kind of
rattle-snake root, called star-grass. The leaves shoot out circularly, and grow
horizontally and near the ground. The root is in shape not unlike the rattle of
that serpent, and is a strong antidote against the bite of it. It is very
bitter, and where it meets with any poison, works by violent sweats, but where
it meets with none, has no sensible operation but that of putting the spirits
into a great hurry, and so of promoting perspiration. The rattle-snake has an
utter antipathy to this plant, insomuch that if you smear your hands with the
juice of it, you may handle the viper safely. Thus much I can say on my own
experience, that once in July, when these snakes are in their greatest vigour,
I besmeared a dog’s nose with the powder of this root, and made him trample on
a large snake several times, which, however, was so far from biting him, that
it perfectly sickened at the dog’s approach, and turned its head from him with
the utmost aversion.205.

Our chaplain, to show his zeal, made an
excursion of six miles to christen two children, but without the least regard
to the good cheer at these solemnities.206.

25th. The surveyors,
taking the advantage of clear woods, pushed on the line seven miles and forty
poles. In the mean time the commissioners marched with the baggage about twelve
miles, and took up their quarters near the banks of the Beaver pond, (which is
one branch of Fountain creek,) just by the place where the surveyors were to
finish their day’s work. In our march one of the men killed a small
rattle-snake, which had no more than two rattles. Those vipers remain in vigour
generally till towards the end of September, or sometimes later, if the weather
continue a little warm. On this consideration we had provided three several
sorts of rattle-snake root, made up into proper doses, and ready for immediate
use, in case any one of the men or their horses had been bitten. We crossed
Fountain creek once more in our journey this day, and found the grounds very
rich, not withstanding they were broken and stony. Near the place where we
encamped the county of Brunswick is divided from the Isle of Wight. These
counties run quite on the back of Surry and Prince George, and are laid out in
very irregular figures. As a proof the land mended hereabouts, we found the
plantations began to grow thicker by much than we had found them lower

26th. We hurried away the surveyors without loss of time,
who extended the line ten miles and a hundred and sixty poles, the grounds
proving dry and free from under-woods. By the way the chain-carriers killed two
more rattle-snakes, which I own was a little ungrateful, because two or three
of the men had strided over them without receiving any hurt; though one of
these vipers had made bold to strike at one of the baggage horses, as he went
along, but by good luck his teeth only grazed on the hoof, without doing him
any damage. However, these accidents were, I think, so many arguments that we
had very good reason to defer our coming out till the 20th of September. We
observed abundance of St. Andrew’s cross in all the woods we passed through,
which is the common remedy used by the Indian traders to cure their horses when
they are bitten by rattle-snakes. It grows on a straight stem, about eighteen
inches high, and bears a yellow flower on the top, that has an eye of black in
the middle, with several pairs of narrow leaves shooting out at right angles
from the stock over against one another. This antidote grows providentially all
over the woods, and upon all sorts of soil, that it may be every where at hand
in case a disaster should happen, and may be had all the hot months while the
snakes are dangerous.208.

About four o’clock in the afternoon we
took up our quarters upon Caban branch, which also discharges itself into
Fountain creek. On our way we observed several meadows clothed with very rank
grass, and branches full of tall reeds, in which cattle keep themselves fat
good part of the winter. But hogs are as injurious to both as goats are said to
be to vines, and for that reason it was not lawful to sacrifice them to
Bacchus. We halted by the way to christen two children at a spring, where their
mothers waylaid us for that good purpose.209.

27th. It was ten
o’clock before the surveyors got to work, because some of the horses had
straggled a great distance from the camp. Nevertheless, meeting with
practicable woods, they advanced the line nine miles and a hundred and four
poles. We crossed over Pea creek about four miles from our quarters, and, three
miles farther, Lizard creek, both which empty their waters into Roanoke river.
Between these two creeks a poor man waited for us with five children to be
baptized and we halted till the ceremony was ended. The land seemed to be very
good, by the largeness of the trees, though very stony. We proceeded as far as
Pigeon-roost creek, which also runs into Roanoke, and there quartered. We had
not the pleasure of the company of any of the Carolina commissioners in this
day’s march, except Mr. Moseley’s, the rest tarrying behind to wait the coming
up of their baggage cart, which they had now not seen nor heard (though the
wheels made a dismal noise) for several days past. Indeed it was a very
difficult undertaking to conduct a cart through such pathless and perplexed
woods, and no wonder if its motion was a little planetary. We would have paid
them the compliment of waiting for them, could we have done it at any other
expense but that of the public.210.

In the stony grounds we rode
over we found great quantity of the true ipocoacanna, which in this part of the
world is called Indian physic. This has several stalks growing up from the same
root about a foot high, bearing a leaf resembling that of a strawberry. It is
not so strong as that from Brazil, but has the same happy effects, if taken in
somewhat a larger dose. It is an excellent vomit, and generally cures
intermitting fevers and bloody fluxes at once or twice taking. There is
abundunce of it in the upper part of the country, where it delights most in a
stony soil intermixed with black mould.211.

28th. Our surveyors got
early to work, yet could forward the line but six miles and a hundred and
twenty-one poles, because of the uneven grounds in the neighbourhood of
Roanoke, which they crossed in this day’s work. In that place the river is
forty-nine poles wide, and rolls down a crystal stream of very sweet water,
insomuch that when there comes to be a great monarch in this part of the world,
he will cause all the water for his own table to be brought from Roanoke, as
the great kings of Persia did theirs from the Nile, and Choaspis, because the
waters of those rivers were light, and not apt to corrupt. * 212.

The great falls of Roanoke lie
about twenty miles lower, to which a sloop of moderate burthen may come up.
There are, besides these, many smaller falls above, though none that entirely
intercept the passage of the river, as the great ones do, by a chain of rocks
for eight miles together. The river forks about thirty-six miles higher, and
both branches are pretty equal in breadth where they divide, though the
southern, now called the Dan, runs up the farthest. That to the north runs away
near north-west, and is called the Staunton, and heads not far from the source
of Appomattox river, while the Dan stretches away pretty near west, and runs
clear through the great mountains.213.

We did not follow the
surveyors till towards noon, being detained in our camp to christen several
more children. We were conducted a nearer way, by a famous woodsman, called
Epaphroditus Bamton. This forester spends all his time in ranging the woods,
and is said to make great havoc among the deer, and other inhabitants of the
forest, not much wilder than himself.214.

We proceeded to the canoe
landing on Roanoke, where we passed the river with the baggage. But the horses
were directed to a ford about a mile higher, called by the Indians Moni-seep,
which signifies, in their jargon, shallow water. This is the ford where the
Indian traders used to cross with their horses, in their way to the Catawba
nation. There are many rocks in the river thereabouts, on which grows a kind of
water grass, which the wild geese are fond of, and resort to it in great
numbers. We landed on the south side of Roanoke, at a plantation of Col.
Mumford’s, where, by that gentleman’s special directions, we met with sundry
refreshments. Here we pitched our tent, for the benefit of the prospect, upon
an eminence that overlooked a broad piece of low ground, very rich, though
liable to be overflowed. By the way, one of our men killed another
rattle-snake, with eleven rattles, having a large gray squirrel in his maw, the
head of which was already digested, while the body remained still entire. The
way these snakes catch their prey is thus: They ogle the poor little animal,
till by force of the charm he falls down stupified and senseless on the ground.
In that condition the snake approaches, and moistens first one ear and then the
other with his spawl, and after that the other parts of the head, to make all
slippery. When that is done, he draws this member into his mouth, and after it,
by slow degrees, all the rest of the body.215.

29th. This being
Sunday, we had divine service and a sermon, at which several of the borderers
assisted, and we concluded the duties of the day by christening five children.
Our devotion being performed in the open field, like that of Mr. Whitfield’s
flocks, an unfortunate shower of rain had almost dispersed our congregation.
About four in the afternoon the Carolina commissioners made a shift to come up
with us, whom we had left at Pigeon-roost creek the Friday before, waiting for
their provisions. When their cart came up they prudently discharged it, and
rather chose to hire two men to carry some part of their baggage. The rest they
had been obliged to leave behind, in the crotch of an old tree, for want of
proper conveniences to transport it any farther.216.

We found in the
low ground several plants of the fern root, which is said to be much the
strongest antidote yet discovered against the poison of the rattle-snake. The
leaves of it resemble those of fern, from whence it obtained its name. Several
stalks shoot from the same root, about six inches long, that lie mostly on the
ground. It grows in a very rich soil, under the protection of some tall tree,
that shades it from the meridian beams of the sun. The root has a faint spicy
taste, and is preferred by the southern Indians to all other counter-poisons in
this country. But there is another sort preferred by the northern Indians, that
they call Seneca rattle-snake root, to which wonderful virtues are ascribed in
the cure of pleurisies, fevers, rheumatisms, and dropsies; besides it being a
powerful antidote against the venom of the rattlesnake.217.

In the
evening the messenger we had sent to Christiana returned with five Saponi
Indians. We could not entirely rely on the dexterity of our own men, which
induced us to send for some of the Indians. We agreed with two of the most
expert of them, upon reasonable terms, to hunt for us the remaining part of our
expedition. But one of them falling sick soon after, we were content to take
only the other, whose hunting name was Bear-skin. This Indian, either by his
skill or good luck, supplied us plentifully all the way with meat, seldom
discharging his piece in vain. By his assistance, therefore, we were able to
keep our men to their business, without suffering them to straggle about the
woods, on pretence of furnishing us with necessary food.218.

It had rained all night, and made every thing so wet, that our surveyors could
not get to their work before noon. They could therefore measure no more than
four miles and two hundred and twenty poles, which, according to the best
information we could get, was near as high as the uppermost inhabitant at that
time. We crossed the Indian trading path above-mentioned about a mile from our
camp, and a mile beyond that forded Haw-tree creek. The woods we passed through
had all the tokens of sterility, except a small poisoned field, on which grew
no tree bigger than a slender sapling. The larger trees had been destroyed,
either by fire or caterpillars, which is often the case in the upland woods,
and the places where such desolation happens are called poisoned fields. We
took up our quarters upon a branch of Great creek, where there was tolerable
good grass for the poor horses. These poor animals having now got beyond the
latitude of corn, were obliged to shift as well as they could for

On our way the men roused a bear, which being the
first we had seen since we came out, the poor beast had many pursuers. Several
persons contended for the credit of killing him: though he was so poor he was
not worth the powder. This was some disappointment to our woodsmen, who
commonly prefer the flesh of bears to every kind of venison. There is something
indeed peculiar to this animal, namely, that its fat is very firm, and may be
eaten plentifully without rising in the stomach. The paw (which, when stripped
of the hair, looks like a human foot,) is accounted a delicious morsel by all
who are not shocked at the ungracious resemblance it bears to a human foot.220.

October 1st. There was a white frost this morning on the ground,
occasioned by a north-west wind, which stood our friend in dispersing all
aguish damps, and making the air wholesome at the same time that it made it
cold. Encouraged therefore by the weather, our surveyors got to work early, and
by the benefit of clear woods, and level ground, drove the line twelve miles
and twelve poles.221.

At a small distance from our camp we crossed
Great creek, and about seven miles further Nut-bush creek, so called from the
many hazel-trees growing upon it. By good luck many branches of these creeks
were full of reeds, to the great comfort of our horses. Near five miles from
thence we encamped on a branch that runs into Nut-bush creek, where those reeds
flourished more than ordinary. The land we marched over was for the most part
broken and stony, and in some places covered over with thickets almost
impenetrable. At night the surveyors, taking advantage of a clear sky, made a
third trial of the variation, and found it still something less than three
degrees, so that it did not diminish by advancing towards the west, or by
approaching the mountains, nor yet by increasing our distance from the sea; but
remained much the same we had found it at Coratuck inlet. One of our Indians
killed a large fawn, which was very welcome, though, like Hudibras’ horse, it
had hardly flesh enough to cover its bones. In the low grounds the Carolina
gentlemen showed us another plant, which they said was used in their country to
cure the bite of the rattle-snake. It put forth several leaves in figure like a
heart, and was clouded so like the common Assa-rabacca, that I conceived it to
be of that family.222.

2d. So soon as the horses could be found, we
hurried away the surveyors, who advanced the line nine miles and two hundred
and fifty-four poles. About three miles from the camp they crossed a large
creek, which the Indians called Massamoni, signifying, in their language, Paint
creek, because of the great quantity of red ochre found in its banks. This in
every fresh tinges the water just as the same mineral did formerly, and to this
day continues to tinge, the famous river Adonis, in Phoenicia, by which there
hangs a celebrated fable. Three miles beyond that we passed another water with
difficulty, called Yapatsco, or Beaver creek. Those industrious animals had
dammed up the water so high, that we had much ado to get over. It is hardly
credible how much work of this kind they will do in the space of one night.
They bite young saplings into proper lengths with their fore-teeth, which are
exceeding strong and sharp, and afterwards drag them to the place where they
intend to stop the water. Then they know how to join timber and earth together
with so much skill, that their work is able to resist the most violent flood
that can happen. In this they are qualified to instruct their betters, it being
certain their dams will stand firm when the strongest that are made by men will
be carried down the stream. We observed very broad low grounds upon this creek,
with a growth of large trees, and all the other signs of fertility, but seemed
subject to be every where overflowed in a fresh. The certain way to catch these
sagacious animals is this: Squeeze all the juice out of the large pride of the
beaver, and six drops out of the small pride. Powder the inward bark of
sassafras, and mix it with this juice, then bait therewith a steel trap, and
they will eagerly come to it, and be taken.223.

About three miles
and a half further we came to the banks of another creek, called, in the Saponi
language, Ohimpa-moni, signifying Jumping creek, from the frequent jumping of
fish during the spring season.224.

Here we encamped, and by the time
the horses were hobbled, our hunters brought us no less than a brace and a half
of deer, which made great plenty, and consequently great content in our
quarters. Some of our people had shot a great wild cat, which was that fatal
moment making a comfortable meal upon a fox-squirrel, and an ambitious
sportsman of our company claimed the merit of killing this monster after it was
dead. The wild cat is as big again as any household cat, and much the fiercest
inhabitant of the woods. Whenever it is disabled, it will tear its own flesh
for madness. Although a panther will run away from a man, a wild cat will only
make a surly retreat, and now and then facing about, if he be too closely
pursued; and will even pursue in his turn, if he observe the least sign of fear
or even of caution in those that pretend to follow him. The flesh of this
beast, as well as of the panther, is as white as veal, and altogether as sweet
and delicious.225.

3d. We got to work early this morning, and
carried the line eight miles and a hundred and sixty poles. We forded several
runs of excellent water, and afterwards traversed a large level of high land
full of lofty walnut, poplar, and white oak trees, which are certain proofs of
a fruitful soil. This level was near two miles in length, and of an unknown
breadth, quite out of danger of being overflowed, which is a misfortune most of
the low grounds are liable to in those parts. As we marched along we saw many
buffalo tracks, and abundance of their dung very fresh, but could not have the
pleasure of seeing them. They either smelt us out, having that sense very
quick, or else were alarmed at the noise that so many people must necessarily
make in marching along. At the sight of a man they will snort and grunt, cock
up their ridiculous short tails, and tear up the ground with a sort of timorous
fury. These wild cattle hardly ever range alone, but herd together like those
that are tame. They are seldom seen so far north as forty degrees of latitude,
delighting much in canes and reeds, which grow generally more southerly.226.

We quartered on the banks of a creek that the inhabitants call
Tewahominy, or Tuskarooda creek, because one of that nation had been killed
there-abouts, and his body thrown into the creek.227.

Our people had
the fortune to kill a brace of does, one of which we presented to the Carolina
gentlemen, who were glad to partake of the bounty of Providence, at the same
time that they sneered at us for depending upon it.228.

4th. We
hurried away the surveyors about nine this morning, who extended the line seven
miles and a hundred and sixty poles, notwithstanding the ground was exceedingly
uneven. At the distance of five miles we forded a stream to which we gave the
name of Bluewing creek, because of the great number of those fowls that then
frequented it. About two and a half miles beyond that, we came upon Sugar-tree
creek, so called from the many trees of that kind that grow upon it. By tapping
this tree, in the first warm weather in February, one may get from twenty to
forty gallons of liquor, very sweet to the taste and agreeable to the stomach.
This may be boiled into molasses first, and afterwards into very good sugar,
allowing about ten gallons of the liquor to make a pound. There is no doubt,
too, that a very fine spirit may be distilled from the molasses, at least as
good as rum. The sugar tree delights only in rich ground, where it grows very
tall, and by the softness and sponginess of the wood should be a quick grower.
Near this creek we discovered likewise several spice trees, the leaves of which
are fragrant, and the berries they bear are black when dry, and of a hot taste,
not much unlike pepper. The low grounds upon the creek are very wide, sometimes
on one side, sometimes on the other; though most commonly upon the opposite
shore the high land advances close to the bank, only on the north side of the
line it spreads itself into a great breadth of rich low ground on both sides
the creek for four miles together, as far as this stream runs into Hico river,
whereof I shall presently make mention. One of our men spied three buffaloes,
but his piece being loaded only with goose-shot, he was able to make no
effectual impression on their thick hides; however, this disappointment was
made up by a brace of bucks, and as many wild turkeys, killed by the rest of
the company. Thus Providence was very bountiful to our endeavours, never
disappointing those that faithfully rely upon it, and pray heartily for their
daily bread.229.

5th. This day we met with such uneven grounds, and
thick underwoods, that with all our industry we were able to advance the line
but four miles and three hundred and twelve poles. In this small distance it
intersected a large stream four times, which our Indian at first mistook for
the south branch of Roanoke river; but, discovering his error soon after, he
assured us it was a river called Hicootomony, or Turkey-buzzard river, from the
great number of those unsavoury birds that roost on the tall trees growing near
its banks.230.

Early in the afternoon, to our very great surprise,
the commissioners of Carolina acquainted us with their resolution to return
home. This declaration of theirs seemed the more abrupt, because they had not
been so kind as to prepare us, by the least hint, of their intention to desert
us. We therefore let them understand they appeared to us to abandon the
business they came about with too much precipitation, this being but the
fifteenth day since we came out the last time. But, although we were to be so
unhappy as to lose the assistance of their great abilities, yet we, who were
concerned for Virginia, determined, by the grace of God, not to do our work by
halves, but, all deserted as we were like to be, should think it our duty to
push the line quite to the mountains; and if their government should refuse to
be bound by so much of the line as was run without their commissioners, yet at
least it would bind Virginia, and stand as a direction how far his majesty’s
lands extend to the southward. In short, these gentlemen were positive, and the
most we could agree upon was to subscribe plots of our work as far as we had
acted together; though at the same time we insisted these plots should be
gotten ready by Monday noon at farthest, when we on the part of Virginia
intended, if we were alive, to move forward without farther loss of time, the
season being then too far advanced to admit of any unnecessary or complaisant

6th. We lay still this day, being Sunday, on the bank of
Hico river, and had only prayers, our chaplain not having spirits enough to
preach. The gentlemen of Carolina assisted not at our public devotions, because
they were taken up all the morning in making a formidable protest against our
proceeding on the line without them. When the divine service was over, the
surveyors set about making the plots of so much of the line as we had run this
last campaign. Our pious friends of Carolina assisted in this work with some
seeming scruple, pretending it was a violation of the sabbath, which we were
the more surprised at, because it happened to be the first qualm of conscience
they had ever been troubled with during the whole journey. They had made no
bones of staying from prayers to hammer out an unnecessary protest, though
divine service was no sooner over, but an unusual fit of godliness made them
fancy that finishing the plots, which was now matter of necessity, was a
profanation of the day. However, the expediency of losing no time, for us who
thought it our duty to finish what we had undertaken, made such a labour

In the afternoon, Mr. Fitzwilliam, one of the
commissioners for Virginia, acquainted his colleagues it was his opinion, that
by his majesty’s order they could not proceed farther on the line, but in
conjunction with the commissioners of Carolina; for which reason he intended to
retire, the next morning, with those gentlemen. This looked a little odd in our
brother commissioner; though, in justice to him, as well as to our Carolina
friends, they stuck by us as long as our good liquor lasted, and were so kind
to us as to drink our good journey to the mountains in the last bottle we had

7th. The duplicates of the plots could not be drawn fair
this day before noon, when they were countersigned by the commissioners of each
government. Then those of Carolina delivered their protest, which was by this
time licked into form, and signed by them all. And we have been so just to them
as to set it down at full length in the Appendix, that their reasons for
leaving us may appear in their full strength. After having thus adjusted all
our affairs with the Carolina commissioners, and kindly supplied them with
bread to carry them back, which they hardly deserved at our hands, we took
leave both of them and our colleague, Mr. Fitzwilliam. This gentleman had still
a stronger reason for hurrying him back to Williamsburg, which was, that
neither the general court might lose an able judge, nor himself a double
salary, not despairing in the least but he should have the whole pay of
commissioner into the bargain, though he did not half the work. This, to be
sure, was relying more on the interest of his friends than on the justice of
his cause; in which, however, he had the misfortune to miscarry, when it came
to be fairly considered.234.

It was two o’clock in the afternoon
before these arduous affairs could be despatched, and then, all forsaken as we
were, we held on our course towards the west. But it was our misfortune to meet
with so many thickets in this afternoon’s work, that we could advance no
further than two miles and two hundred and sixty poles. In this small distance
we crossed the Hico the fifth time, and quartered near Buffalo creek, so named
from the frequent tokens we discovered of that American behemoth. Here the
bushes were so intolerably thick, that we were obliged to cover the bread bags
with our deer skins, otherwise the joke of one of the Indians must have
happened to us in good earnest, that in a few days we must cut up our house to
make bags for our bread, and so be forced to expose our backs in compliment to
our bellies. We computed we had then biscuit enough left to last us, with good
management, seven weeks longer; and this being our chief dependence, it
imported us to be very careful both in the carriage and the distribution of

We had now no other drink but what Adam drank in Paradise,
though to our comfort we found the water excellent, by the help of which we
perceived our appetites to mend, our slumbers to sweeten, the stream of life to
run cool and peaceably in our veins, and if ever we dreamed of women, they were
kind. Our men killed a very fat buck and several turkeys. These two kinds of
meat boiled together, with the addition of a little rice or French barley, made
excellent soup, and, what happens rarely in other good things, it never cloyed,
no more than an engaging wife would do, by being a constant dish. Our Indian
was very superstitious in this matter, and told us, with a face full of
concern, that if we continued to boil venison and turkey together, we should
for the future kill nothing, because the spirit that presided over the woods
would drive all the game out of our sight. But we had the happiness to find
this an idle superstition, and though his argument could not convince us, yet
our repeated experience at last, with much ado, convinced him. We observed
abundance of colt’s foot and maiden-hair in many places, and no where a larger
quantity than here. They are both excellent pectoral plants, and seem to have
greater virtues much in this part of the world than in more northern climates;
and I believe it may pass for a rule in botanics, that where any vegetable is
planted by the hand of nature, it has more virtue than in places whereto it is
transplanted by the curiosity of man.236.

8th. Notwithstanding we
hurried away the surveyors very early, yet the underwoods embarrassed them so
much that they could with difficulty advance the line four miles and twenty
poles. Our clothes suffered extremely by the bushes, and it was really as much
as both our hands could do to preserve our eyes in our heads. Our poor horses,
too, could hardly drag their loads through the saplings, which stood so close
together that it was necessary for them to draw and carry at the same time. We
quartered near a spring of very fine water, as soft as oil and as cold as ice,
to make us amends for the want of wine. And our Indian knocked down a very fat
doe, just time enough to hinder us from going supperless to bed. The heavy
baggage could not come up with us, because of the excessive badness of the
ways. This gave us no small uneasiness, but it went worse with the poor men
that guarded it. They had nothing in the world with them but dry bread, nor
durst they eat any of that, for fear of inflaming their thirst, in a place
where they could find no water to quench it. This was, however, the better to
be endured, because it was the first fast any one had kept during the whole
journey, and then, thanks to the gracious Guardian of the woods! there was no
more than a single meal lost to a few of the company. We were entertained this
night with the yell of a whole family of wolves, in which we could distinguish
the treble, tenor and bass, very clearly. These beasts of prey kept pretty much
upon our track, being tempted by the garbage of the creatures we killed every
day; for which we were serenaded with their shrill pipes almost every night.
This beast is not so untameable as the panther, but the Indians know how to
gentle their whelps, and use them about their cabins instead of dogs.237.

9th. The thickets were hereabouts so impenetrable, that we were
obliged, at first setting off this morning, to order four pioneers to clear the
way before the surveyors. But, after about two miles of these rough woods, we
had the pleasure to meet with open grounds and not very uneven, by the help of
which we were enabled to push the line about six miles. The baggage that lay
short of our camp last night came up about noon, and the men made heavy
complaints, that they had been half starved, like Tantalus, in the midst of
plenty, for the reason above mentioned.238.

The soil we past over
this day was generally very good, being clothed with large trees, of poplar,
hickory and oak. But another certain token of its fertility was, that wild
angelica grew plentifully upon it. The root of this plant, being very warm and
aromatic, is coveted by woodsmen extremely as a dry dram, that is, when rum,
that cordial for all distresses, is wanting. Several deer came into our view as
we marched along, but none into the pot, which made it necessary for us to sup
on the fragments we had been so provident as to carry along with us. This being
but a temperate repast, made some of our hungry fellows call the place we
lodged at that night, Bread and Water Camp.239.

A great flock of
cranes flew over our quarters, that were exceeding clamorous in their flight.
They seem to steer their course towards the south (being birds of passage) in
quest of warmer weather. They only took this country in their way, being as
rarely met with, in this part of the world, as a highwayman or a beggar. These
birds travel generally in flocks, and when they roost they place sentinels upon
some of the highest trees, which constantly stand upon one leg to keep
themselves waking. * 240.

Our Indian killed nothing all day but a mountain
partridge, which a little resembled the common partridge in the plumage, but
was near as large as a dunghill hen. These are very frequent towards the
mountains, though we had the fortune to meet with very few. They are apt to be
shy, and consequently the noise of so great a number of people might easily
scare them away from our sight. We found what we conceived to be good limestone
in several places, and a great quantity of blue slate.241.

10th. The
day began very fortunately by killing a fat doe, and two brace of wild turkeys;
so the plenty of the morning made amends for the short commons over night. One
of the new men we brought out with us the last time was unfortunately heard to
wish himself at home, and for that show of impatience was publicly reprimanded
at the head of the men, who were all drawn up to witness his disgrace. He was
asked how he came so soon to be tired of the company of so many brave fellows,
and whether it was the danger or the fatigue of the journey that disheartened
him? This public re-proof from thenceforward put an effectual stop to all
complaints, and not a man amongst us after that pretended so much as to wish
himself in Paradise. A small distance from our camp we crossed a pleasant
stream of water called Cocquade creek, and something more than a mile from
thence our line intersected the south branch of Roanoke river the first time,
which we called the Dan. It was about two hundred yards wide where we forded
it, and when we came over to the west side, we found the banks lined with a
forest of tall canes, that grew more than a furlong in depth. So that it cost
us abundance of time and labour to cut a passage through them wide enough for
our baggage. In the mean time we had leisure to take a full view of this
charming river. The stream, which was perfectly clear, ran down about two
knots, or two miles, an hour, when the water was at the lowest. The bottom was
covered with a coarse gravel, spangled very thick with a shining substance,
that almost dazzled the eye, and the sand upon either shore sparkled with the
same splendid particles. At first sight, the sunbeams giving a yellow cast to
these spangles made us fancy them to be gold dust, and consequently that all
our fortunes were made. Such hopes as these were the less extravagant, because
several rivers lying much about the same latitude with this have formerly
abounded with fragments of that tempting metal. Witness the Tagus in Portugal,
the Heber in Thrace, and the Pactolus in Lesser Asia; not to mention the rivers
on the Gold Coast in Africa, which lie in a more southern climate. But we soon
found ourselves mistaken, and our gold dust dwindled into small flakes of
isinglass. However, though this did not make the river so rich as we could
wish, yet it made it exceedingly beautiful. We marched about two miles and a
half beyond this river, as far as Cane creek, so called from a prodigious
quantity of tall canes that fringed the banks of it. On the west side of this
creek we marked out our quarters, and were glad to find our horses fond of the
canes, though they scoured them smartly at first, and discoloured their dung.
This beautiful vegetable grows commonly from twelve to sixteen feet high, and
some of them as thick as a man’s wrist. Though these appeared large to us, yet
they are no more than spires of grass, if compared to those which some curious
travellers tell us grow in the East Indies, one joint of which will make a
brace of canoes, if sawed in two in the middle. Ours continue green through all
the seasons during the space of six years, and the seventh shed their seed,
wither away and die. The spring following they begin to shoot again, and reach
their former stature the second or third year after. They grow so thick, and
their roots lace together so firmly, that they are the best guard that can be
of the river bank, which would otherwise be washed away by the frequent
inundations that happen in this part of the world. They would also serve
excellently well to plant on the borders of fish-ponds and canals, to secure
their sides from falling in; though I fear they would not grow kindly in a cold
country, being seldom seen here so northerly as thirty-eight degrees of

11th. At the distance of four miles and sixty poles
from the place where we encamped, we came upon the river Dan a second time;
though it was not so wide in this place as where we crossed it first, being not
above a hundred and fifty yards over. The west shore continued to be covered
with the canes above mentioned, but not to so great a breadth as before, and it
is remarkable that these canes are much more frequent on the west side of the
river than on the east, where they grow generally very scattering. It was still
a beautiful stream, rolling down its limpid and murmuring waters among the
rocks, which lay scattered here and there, to make up the variety of the
prospect. It was about two miles from this river to the end of our day’s work,
which led us mostly over broken grounds and troublesome underwoods. Hereabout,
from one of the highest hills, we made the first discovery of the mountains, on
the north-west of our course. They seemed to lie off at a vast distance, and
looked like ranges of blue clouds rising one above another. We encamped about
two miles beyond the river, where we made good cheer upon a very fat buck, that
luckily fell in our way. The Indian likewise shot a wild turkey, but confessed
he would not bring it us, lest we should continue to provoke the guardian of
the forest, by cooking the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
together in one vessel. This instance of Indian superstition, I confess, is
countenanced in some measure by the Levitical law, which forbade the mixing
things of a different nature together in the same field, or in the same
garment, and why not then in the same kettle? But, after all, if the jumbling
of two sorts of flesh together be a sin, how intolerable an offence must it be
to make a Spanish olla, that is, a hotchpotch of every kind of thing that is
eatable? And the good people of England would have a great deal to answer for,
for beating up so many different ingredients into a pudding.243.

12th. We were so cruelly entangled with bushes and grape-vines all day,
that we could advance the line no farther than five miles and twenty-eight
poles. The vines grow very thick in these woods, twining lovingly round the
trees almost every where, especially to the saplings. This makes it evident how
natural both the soil and climate of this country are to vines, though I
believe most to our own vines. The grapes we commonly met with were black,
though there be two or three kinds of white grapes that grow wild. The black
are very sweet, but small, because the strength of the vine spends itself in
wood; though without question a proper culture would make the same grapes both
larger and sweeter. But, with all these disadvantages, I have drunk tolerable
good wine pressed from them, though made without skill. There is then good
reason to believe it might admit of great improvement, if rightly managed. Our
Indian killed a bear, two years old, that was feasting on these grapes. He was
very fat, as they generally are in that season of the year. In the fall, the
flesh of this animal has a high relish, different from that of other creatures,
though inclining nearest to that of pork, or rather of wild boar. A true
woodsman prefers this sort of meat to that of the fattest venison, not only for
the haut gout, but also because the fat of it is well tasted, and never rises
in the stomach. Another proof of the goodness of this meat is, that it is less
apt to corrupt than any other with which we are acquainted. As agreeable as
such rich diet was to the men, yet we who were not accustomed to it, tasted it
at first with some sort of squeamishness, that animal being of the dog kind;
though a little use soon reconciled us to this American venison. And that its
being of the dog kind might give us the less disgust, we had the example of
that ancient and polite people, the Chinese, who reckon dog’s flesh too good
for any under the quality of a mandarin. This beast is in truth a very clean
feeder, living, while the season lasts, upon acorns, chestnuts and chinquapins,
wild honey and wild grapes. They are naturally not carnivorous, unless hunger
constrain them to it, after the mast is all gone, and the product of the woods
quite exhausted. They are not provident enough to lay up any hoard, like the
squirrels, nor can they, after all, live very long upon licking their paws, as
sir John Mandevil and some other travellers tell us, but are forced in the
winter months to quit the mountains, and visit the inhabitants. Their errand is
then to surprise a poor hog at a pinch to keep them from starving. And to show
that they are not flesh-eaters by trade, they devour their prey very awkwardly.
They do not kill it right out, and feast upon its blood and entrails, like
other ravenous beasts, but having, after a fair pursuit, seized it with their
paws, they begin first upon the rump, and so devour one collop after another,
till they come to the vitals, the poor animal crying all the while, for several
minutes together. However, in so doing, Bruin acts a little imprudently,
because the dismal outcry of the hog alarms the neighbourhood, and it is odds
but he pays the forfeit with his life, before he can secure his retreat. But
bears soon grow weary of this unnatural diet, and about January, when there is
nothing to be gotten in the woods, they retire into some cave or hollow tree,
where they sleep away two or three months very comfortably. But then they quit
their holes in March, when the fish begin to run up the rivers, on which they
are forced to keep Lent, till some fruit or berry comes in season. But bears
are fondest of chestnuts, which grow plentifully towards the mountains, upon
very large trees, where the soil happens to be rich. We were curious to know
how it happened that many of the outward branches of those trees came to be
broken off in that solitary place, and were informed that the bears are so
discreet as not to trust their unwieldy bodies on the smaller limbs of the
tree, that would not bear their weight; but after venturing as far as is safe,
which they can judge to an inch, they bite off the end of the branch, which
falling down, they are content to finish their repast upon the ground. In the
same cautious manner they secure the acorns that grow on the weaker limbs of
the oak. And it must be allowed that, in these instances, a bear carries
instinct a great way, and acts more reasonably than many of his betters, who
indiscreetly venture upon frail projects that will not bear them.244.

13th. This being Sunday, we rested from our fatigue, and had leisure
to reflect on the signal mercies of Providence.245.

The great plenty
of meat wherewith Bearskin furnished us in these lonely woods made us once more
shorten the men’s allowance of bread, from five to four pounds of biscuit a
week. This was the more necessary, because we knew not yet how long our
business might require us to be out.246.

In the afternoon our
hunters went forth, and returned triumphantly with three brace of wild turkeys.
They told us they could see the mountains distinctly from every eminence,
though the atmosphere was so thick with smoke that they appeared at a greater
distance than they really were.247.

In the evening we examined our
friend Bearskin, concerning the religion of his country, and he explained it to
us, without any of that reserve to which his nation is subject. He told us he
believed there was one supreme God, who had several subaltern deities under
him. And that this master God made the world a long time ago. That he told the
sun, the moon, and stars, their business in the beginning, which they, with
good looking after, have faithfully performed ever since. That the same Power
that made all things at first has taken care to keep them in the same method
and motion ever since. He believed that God had formed many worlds before he
formed this, but that those worlds either grew old and ruinous, or were
destroyed for the dishonesty of the inhabitants. That God is very just and very
good–ever well pleased with those men who possess those god-like
qualities. That he takes good people into his safe protection, makes them very
rich, fills their bellies plentifully, preserves them from sickness, and from
being surprised or overcome by their enemies. But all such as tell lies, and
cheat those they have dealings with, he never fails to punish with sickness,
poverty and hunger, and, after all that, suffers them to be knocked on the head
and scalped by those that fight against them. He believed that after death both
good and bad people are conducted by a strong guard into a great road, in which
departed souls travel together for some time, till at a certain distance this
road forks into two paths, the one extremely level, and the other stony and
mountainous. Here the good are parted from the bad by a flash of lightning, the
first being hurried away to the right, the other to the left. The right hand
road leads to a charming warm country, where the spring is everlasting, and
every month is May; and as the year is always in its youth, so are the people,
and particularly the women are bright as stars, and never scold. That in this
happy climate there are deer, turkeys, elks, and buffaloes innumerable,
perpetually fat and gentle, while the trees are loaded with delicious fruit
quite throughout the four seasons. That the soil brings forth corn
spontaneously, without the curse of labour, and so very wholesome, that none
who have the happiness to eat of it are ever sick, grow old, or die. Near the
entrance into this blessed land sits a venerable old man on a mat richly woven,
who examines strictly all that are brought before him, and if they have behaved
well, the guards are ordered to open the crystal gate, and let them enter into
the land of delight. The left hand path is very rugged and uneven, leading to a
dark and barren country, where it is always winter. The ground is the whole
year round covered with snow, and nothing is to be seen upon the trees but
icicles. All the people are hungry, yet have not a morsel of any thing to eat,
except a bitter kind of potato, that gives them the dry gripes, and fills their
whole body with loathsome ulcers, that stink, and are insupportably painful.
Here all the women are old and ugly, having claws like a panther, with which
they fly upon the men that slight their passion. For it seems these haggard old
furies are intolerably fond, and expect a vast deal of cherishing. They talk
much, and exceedingly shrill, giving exquisite pain to the drum of the ear,
which in that place of torment is so tender, that every sharp note wounds it to
the quick. At the end of this path sits a dreadful old woman on a monstrous
toad-stool, whose head is covered with rattle-snakes instead of tresses, with
glaring white eyes, that strike a terror unspeakable into all that behold her.
This hag pronounces sentence of woe upon all the miserable wretches that hold
up their hands at her tribunal. After this they are delivered over to huge
turkey-buzzards, like harpies, that fly away with them to the place above
mentioned. Here, after they have been tormented a certain number of years,
according to their several degrees of guilt, they are again driven back into
this world, to try if they will mend their manners, and merit a place the next
time in the regions of bliss. This was the substance of Bearskin’s religion,
and was as much to the purpose as could be expected from a mere state of
nature, without one glimpse of revelation or philosophy. It contained, however,
the three great articles of natural religion: the belief of a God; the moral
distinction betwixt good and evil; and the expectation of rewards and
punishments in another world. Indeed, the Indian notion of a future happiness
is a little gross and sensual, like Mahomet’s paradise. But how can it be
otherwise, in a people that are contented with Nature as they find her, and
have no other lights but what they receive from purblind tradition?248.

14th. There having been great signs of rain yesterday evening, we
had taken our precautions in securing the bread, and trenching in our tent. The
men had also stretched their blankets upon poles, pent-house fashion, against
the weather, so that nobody was taken unprepared. It began to fall heavily
about three o’clock in the morning, and held not up till near noon. Every thing
was so thoroughly soaked, that we laid aside all thoughts of decamping that
day. This gave leisure to the most expert of our gunners to go and try their
fortunes, and they succeeded so well, that they returned about noon with three
fat deer, and four wild turkeys. Thus Providence took care of us, and however
short the men might be in their bread, it is certain they had meat at full
allowance. The cookery went on merrily all night long, to keep the damps from
entering our pores; and in truth the impressions of the air are much more
powerful upon empty stomachs. In such a glut of provisions, a true woodsman,
when he has nothing else to do, like our honest countrymen the Indians, keeps
eating on, to avoid the imputation of idleness; though, in a scarcity, the
Indian will fast with a much better grace than they. They can subsist several
days upon a little rockahominy, which is parched Indian corn reduced to powder.
This they moisten in the hollow of their hands with a little water, and it is
hardly credible how small a quantity of it will support them. It is true they
grow a little lank upon it, but to make themselves feel full, they gird up
their loins very tight with a belt, taking up a hole every day. With this
slender subsistence they are able to travel very long journeys; but then, to
make themselves amends, when they do meet with better cheer, they eat without
ceasing, till they have ravened themselves into another famine.249.

This was the first time we had ever been detained a whole day in our
camp by the rain, and therefore had reason to bear it with the more

The few good husbands amongst us took some thought of
their backs as well as their bellies, and made use of this opportunity to put
their habiliments in repair, which had suffered wofully by the bushes. The
horses got some rest, by reason of the bad weather, but very little food, the
chief of their forage being a little wild rosemary, which resembles the garden
rosemary pretty much in figure, but not at all in taste or smell. This plant
grows in small tufts here and there on the barren land in these upper parts,
and the horses liked it well, but the misfortune was, they could not get enough
of it to fill their bellies.251.

15th. After the clouds broke away
in the morning, the people dried their blankets with all diligence.
Nevertheless, it was noon before we were in condition to move forward, and then
were so puzzled with passing the river twice in a small distance, that we could
advance the line in all no further than one single mile and three hundred
poles. The first time we passed the Dan this day was two hundred and forty
poles from the place where we lay, and the second time was one mile and seven
poles beyond that. This was now the fourth time we forded that fine river,
which still tended westerly, with many short and returning reaches.252.

The surveyors had much difficulty in getting over the river, finding
it deeper than formerly. The breadth of it here did not exceed fifty yards. The
banks were about twenty feet high from the water, and beautifully beset with
canes. Our baggage horses crossed not the river here at all, but, fetching a
compass, went round the bend of it. On our way we forded Sable creek, so called
from the dark colour of the water, which happened, I suppose, by its being
shaded on both sides with canes.253.

In the evening we quartered in
a charming situation near the angle of the river, from whence our eyes were
carried down both reaches, which kept a straight course for a great way
together. This prospect was so beautiful, that we were perpetually climbing up
to a neighbouring eminence, that we might enjoy it in more perfection.254.

Now the weather grew cool, the wild geese began to direct their
flight this way from Hudson’s bay, and the lakes that lay north-west of us.
They are very lean at their first coming, but fatten soon upon a sort of grass
that grows on the shores and rocks of this river. The Indians call this fowl
cohunks, from the hoarse note it has, and begin the year from the coming of the
cohunks, which happens in the beginning of October. These wild geese are
guarded from cold by a down, that is exquisitely soft and fine, which makes
them much more valuable for their feathers than for their flesh, which is dark
and coarse.255.

The men chased a bear into the river that got safe
over, notwithstanding the continual fire from the shore upon him. He seemed to
swim but heavily, considering it was for his life. Where the water is shallow,
it is no uncommon thing to see a bear sitting, in the summer time, on a heap of
gravel in the middle of the river, not only to cool himself, but likewise for
the advantage of fishing, particularly for a small shell-fish, that is brought
down with the stream. In the upper part of James river I have observed this
several times, and wondered very much, at first, how so many heaps of small
stones came to be piled up in the water, till at last we spied a bear sitting
upon one of them, looking with great attention on the stream, and raking up
something with his paw, which I take to be the shell-fish above mentioned.256.

16th. It was ten o’clock this morning before the horses could be
found, having hidden themselves among the canes, whereof there was great plenty
just at hand. Not far from our camp we went over a brook, whose banks were
edged on both sides with these canes. But three miles further we forded a
larger stream, which we called Lowland creek, by reason of the great breadth of
low grounds inclosed between that and the river.257.

The high land
we travelled over was very good, and the low grounds promised the greatest
fertility of any I had ever seen. At the end of four miles and three hundred
and eleven poles from where we lay, the line intersected the Dan the fifth
time. We had day enough to carry it farther, but the surveyors could find no
safe ford over the river. This obliged us to ride two miles up the river in
quest of a ford, and by the way we traversed several small Indian fields, where
we conjectured the Sawroes had been used to plant corn, the town where they had
lived lying seven or eight miles more southerly, upon the eastern side of the
river. These Indian fields produced a sweet kind of grass, almost knee-high,
which was excellent forage for the horses. It must be observed, by the way,
that Indian towns, like religious houses, are remarkable for a fruitful
situation; for being by nature not very industrious, they choose such a
situation as will subsist them with the least labour. The trees grew
surprisingly large in this low ground, and amongst the rest we observed a tall
kind of hickory, peculiar to the upper parts of the country. It is covered with
a very rough bark, and produces a nut with a thick shell that is easily broken.
The kernel is not so rank as that of the common hickory, but altogether as
oily. And now I am upon the subject of these nuts, it may not be improper to
remark, that a very great benefit might be made of nut-oil in this colony. The
walnuts, the hickory-nuts, and pignuts, contain a vast deal of oil, that might
be pressed out in great abundance with proper machines. The trees grow very
kindly, and may be easily propagated. They bear plenty of nuts every year, that
are now of no other use in the world but to feed hogs. It is certain there is a
large consumption of this oil in several of our manufactures, and in some parts
of France, as well as in other countries, it is eaten instead of oil-olive,
being tolerably sweet and wholesome. The Indian killed a fat buck, and the men
brought in four bears and a brace of wild turkeys, so that this was truly a
land of plenty, both for man and beast.258.

17th. We detached a
party of men this morning early in search of a ford, who after all could find
none that was safe; though, dangerous as it was, we determined to make use of
it, to avoid all further delay. Accordingly we rode over a narrow ledge of
rocks, some of which lay below the surface of the water, and some above it.
Those that lay under the water were as slippery as ice; and the current glided
over them so swifty, that though it was only water, it made us perfectly drunk.
Yet we were all so fortunate as to get safe over to the west shore, with no
other damage than the sopping some of our bread by the flouncing of the horses.
The tedious time spent in finding out this ford, and in getting all the horses
over it, prevented our carrying the line more than two miles and two hundred
and fifty poles. This was the last time we crossed the Dan with our line, which
now began to run away more southerly, with a very flush and plentiful stream,
the description whereof must be left to future discoveries, though we are well
assured by the Indians that it runs through the mountains. We conducted the
baggage a roundabout way for the benefit of evener grounds, and this carried us
over a broad level of exceeding rich land, full of large trees, with vines
married to them, if I may be allowed to speak so poetically. We untreed a young
cub in our march, that made a brave stand against one of the best of our dogs.
This and a fawn were all the game that came in our way. In this day’s journey,
as in many others before, we saw beautiful marble of several colours, and
particularly that of the purple kind with white streaks, and in some places we
came across large pieces of pure alabaster. We marked out our quarters on the
banks of a purling stream, which we called Cascade creek, by reason of the
multitude of water-falls that are in it. But, different from all other falls
that ever I met with, the rocks over which the water rolled were soft, and
would split easily into broad flakes, very proper for pavement; and some
fragments of it seemed soft enough for hones, and the grain fine enough. Near
our camp we found a prickly shrub, rising about a foot from the ground,
something like that which bears the barberry, though much smaller. The leaves
had a fresh, agreeable smell, and I am persuaded the ladies would be apt to
fancy a tea made of them, provided they were told how far it came, and at the
same time were obliged to buy it very dear. About a mile to the south-west of
our camp rose a regular mount, that commanded a full prospect of the mountains,
and an extensive view of the flat country. But being, with respect to the high
mountains, no more than a pimple, we called it by that name. Presently after
sunset we discovered a great light towards the west, too bright for a fire, and
more resembling the aurora borealis. This, all our woodsmen told us, was a
common appearance in the high lands, and generally foreboded bad weather. Their
explanation happened to be exactly true, for in the night we had a violent gale
of wind, accompanied with smart hail, that rattled frightfully amongst the
trees, though it was not large enough to do us any harm.259.

crossed Cascade creek over a ledge of smooth rocks, and then scuffled through a
mighty thicket, at least three miles long. The whole was one continued tract of
rich high land, the woods whereof had been burnt not long before. It was then
overgrown with saplings of oak, hickory and locust, interlaced with grape
vines. In this fine land, however, we met with no water, till at the end of
three miles we luckily came upon a crystal stream, which, like some lovers of
conversation, discovered every thing committed to its faithless bosom. Then we
came upon a piece of rich low ground, covered with large trees, of the extent
of half a mile, which made us fancy ourselves not far from the river; though
after that we ascended gently to higher land, with no other trees growing upon
it except butter-wood, which is one species of white maple. This being a dead
level, without the least declivity to carry off the water, was moist in many
places, and produced abundance of grass. All our woodsmen call these flat
grounds high land ponds, and in their trading journeys are glad to halt at such
places for several days together, to recruit their jaded horses, especially in
the winter months, when there is little or no grass to be found in other
places. This high land pond extended above two miles, our palfries snatching
greedily at the tufts of grass, as they went along. After we got over this
level, we descended some stony hills for about half a mile, and then came upon
a large branch of the river, which we christened the Irvin, in honour of our
learned professor. This river we forded with much difficulty and some danger,
by reason of the hollow spaces betwixt the rocks, into which our horses plunged
almost every step. The Irvin runs into the Dan about four miles to the
southward of the line, and seemed to roll down its waters from the N. N. W. in
a very full and limpid stream, and the murmur it made, in tumbling over the
rocks, caused the situation to appear very romantic, and had almost made some
of the company poetical, though they drank nothing but water. We encamped on a
pleasant hill, overlooking the river, which seemed to be deep every where
except just where we forded. In the mean time, neither that chain of rocks, nor
any other that we could observe in this stream, was so uninterrupted, but that
there were several breaks where a canoe, or even a moderate flat-bottomed boat,
might shear clear. Nor have we reason to believe there are any other falls
(except the great ones, thirty miles below Moniseep ford) that reach quite
across, so as to interrupt the navigation for small craft. And I have been
informed that, even at those great falls, the blowing up a few rocks would open
a passage at least for canoes, which certainly would be an unspeakable
convenience to the inhabitants of all that beautiful part of the country. The
Indian killed a very fat doe, and came across a bear, which had been put to
death and was half devoured by a panther. The last of these brutes reigns
absolute monarch of the woods, and in the keenness of his hunger will venture
to attack a bear; though then it is ever by surprise, as all beasts of the cat
kind use to come upon their prey. Their play is to take the poor bears napping,
they being very drowsy animals, and though they be exceedingly strong, yet
their strength is heavy, while the panthers are too nimble and cunning to trust
themselves within their hug. As formidable as this beast is to his fellow
brutes, he never has the confidence to venture upon a man, but retires from him
with great respect, if there be a way open for his escape. However, it must be
confest, his voice is a little contemptible for a monarch of the forest, being
not a great deal louder nor more awful than the mewing of a household cat.
* 260.

In South Carolina they call this beast a tiger,
though improperly, and so they do in some parts of the Spanish West Indies.
Some of their authors, a little more properly, compliment it with the name of a
leopard. But none of these are the growth of America, that we know of.261.

The whole distance the surveyors advanced the line this day amounted
to six miles and thirty poles, which was no small journey, considering the
grounds we had traversed were exceedingly rough and uneven, and in many places
intolerably entangled with bushes. All the hills we ascended were encumbered
with stones, many of which seemed to contain a metallic substance, and the
valleys we crossed were interrupted with miry branches. From the top of every
hill we could discern distinctly, at a great distance to the northward, three
or four ledges of mountains, rising one above another; and on the highest of
all rose a single mountain, very much resembling a woman’s breast.262.

19th. About four miles beyond the river Irvin, we forded Matrimony
creek, called so by an unfortunate married man, because it was exceedingly
noisy and impetuous. However, though the stream was clamorous, yet, like those
women who make themselves plainest heard, it was likewise perfectly clear and
unsullied. Still half a mile further we saw a small mountain, about five miles
to the north-west of us, which we called the Wart, because it appeared no
bigger than a wart, in comparison of the great mountains which hid their
haughty heads in the clouds. We were not able to extend the line farther than
five miles and one hundred and thirty five poles, not withstanding we began our
march early in the morning, and did not encamp till it was almost dark. We made
it the later by endeavouring to quarter in some convenient situation, either
for grass or canes. But night surprising us, we were obliged to lodge at last
upon high and uneven ground, which was so overgrown with shrubs and saplings,
that we could hardly see ten yards around us. The most melancholy part of the
story was, that our horses had short commons. The poor creatures were now grown
so weak that they staggered when we mounted them. Nor would our own fare have
been at all more plentiful, had we not been so provident as to carry a load of
meat along with us. Indeed, the woods were too thick to show us any sort of
game but one wild turkey, which helped to enrich our soup. To make us amends,
we found abundance of very sweet grapes, which, with the help of bread, might
have furnished out a good Italian repast, in the absence of more savoury food.
The men’s mouths watered at the sight of a prodigious flight of wild pigeons,
which flew high over our heads to the southward. The flocks of these birds of
passage are so amazingly great, sometimes, that they darken the sky; nor is it
uncommon for them to light in such numbers in the larger limbs of mulberry
trees and oaks as to break them down. In their travels they make vast havoc
amongst the acorns and berries of all sorts, that they waste whole forests in a
short time, and leave a famine behind them for most other creatures; and under
some trees where they light, it is no strange thing to find the ground covered
three inches thick with their dung. These wild pigeons commonly breed in the
uninhabited parts of Canada, and as the cold approaches assemble their armies
and bend their course southerly, shifting their quarters, like many of the
winged kind, according to the season. But the most remarkable thing in their
flight, as we are told, is that they never have been observed to return to the
northern countries the same way they came from thence, but take quite another
route, I suppose for their better subsistence. In these long flights they are
very lean, and their flesh is far from being white or tender, though good
enough upon a march, when hunger is the sauce, and makes it go down better than
truffles and morels would do.263.

20th. It was now Sunday, which we
had like to have spent in fasting as well as prayer; for our men, taking no
care for the morrow, like good Christians, but bad travellers, had
improvidently devoured all their meat for supper. They were ordered in the
morning to drive up their horses, lest they should stray too far from the camp
and be lost, in case they were let alone all day. At their return they had the
very great comfort to behold a monstrous fat bear, which the Indian had killed
very seasonably for their breakfast. We thought it still necessary to make
another reduction of our bread, from four to three pounds a week to every man,
computing that we had still enough in that proportion to last us three weeks
longer. The atmosphere was so smoky all round us, that the mountains were again
grown invisible. This happened not from the haziness of the sky, but from the
firing of the woods by the Indians, for we were now near the route the the
northern savages take when they go out to war against the Catawbas and other
southern nations. On their way the fires they make in their camps are left
burning, which, catching the dry leaves that lie near, soon put the adjacent
woods into a flame. Some of our men in search of their horses discovered one of
those Indian camps, where not long before they had been a furring and dressing
their skins. And now I mention the northern Indians, it may not be improper to
take notice of their implacable hatred to those of the south. Their wars are
everlasting, without any peace, enmity being the only inheritance among them
that descends from father to son, and either party will march a thousand miles
to take their revenge upon such hereditary enemies. These long expeditions are
commonly carried on in the following manner; some Indian, remarkable for his
prowess, that has raised himself to the reputation of a war captain, declares
his intention of paying a visit to some southern nation; hereupon as many of
the young fellows as have either a strong thirst of blood or glory, list
themselves under his command. With these volunteers he goes from one
confederate town to another, listing all the rabble he can, till he has
gathered together a competent number for mischief. Their arms are a gun and
tomahawk, and all the provisions they carry from home is a pouch of
rockahominy. Thus provided and accoutred, they march towards their enemy’s
country, not in a body, or by a certain path, but straggling in small numbers,
for the greater convenience of hunting and passing along undiscovered. So soon
as they approach the grounds on which the enemy is used to hunt, they never
kindle any fire themselves, for fear of being found out by the smoke, nor will
they shoot at any kind of game, though they should be half famished, lest they
might alarm their foes, and put them upon their guard. Sometimes indeed, while
they are still at some distance, they roast either venison or bear, till it is
very dry, and then having strung it on their belts, wear it round their middle,
eating very sparingly of it, because they know not when they shall meet with a
fresh supply. But coming nearer, they begin to look all round the hemisphere,
to watch if any smoke ascends, and listen continually for the report of guns,
in order to make some happy discovery for their own advantage. It is amazing to
see their sagacity in discerning the track of a human foot, even amongst dry
leaves, which to our shorter sight is quite undiscoverable. If by one or more
of those signs they be able to find out the camp of any southern Indians, they
squat down in some thicket, and keep themselves hush and snug till it is dark;
then creeping up softly, they approach near enough to observe all the motions
of the enemy. And about two o’clock in the morning, when they conceive them to
be in a profound sleep, for they never keep watch and ward, pour in a volley
upon them, each singling out his man. The moment they have discharged their
pieces, they rush in with their tomahawks, and make sure work of all that are
disabled. Sometimes, when they find the enemy asleep round their little fire,
they first pelt them with little stones to wake them, and when they get up,
fire in upon them, being in that posture a better mark than when prostrate on
the ground. Those that are killed of the enemy, or disabled, they scalp, that
is, they cut the skin all round the head just below the hair, and then clapping
their feet to the poor mortals’ shoulders, pull the scalp off clean, and carry
it home in triumph, being as proud of those trophies, as the Jews used to be of
the foreskins of the Philistines. This way of scalping was practised by the
ancient Scythians, who used these hairy scalps as towels at home, and trappings
for their horses when they went abroad. They also made cups of their enemies’
skulls, in which they drank prosperity to their country, and confusion to all
their foes. The prisoners they happen to take alive in these expeditions
generally pass their time very scurvily. They put them to all the tortures that
ingenious malice and cruelty can invent. And (what shows the baseness of the
Indian temper in perfection) they never fail to treat those with greatest
inhumanity that have distinguished themselves most by their bravery; and, if he
be a war captain, they do him the honour to roast him alive, and distribute a
collop to all that had a share in stealing the victory. * 264.

They are very cunning in finding out new ways to
torment their unhappy captives, though, like those of hell, their usual method
is by fire. Sometimes they barbacue them over live coals, taking them off every
now and then, to prolong their misery; at other times they will stick sharp
pieces of lightwood all over their bodies, and setting them on fire, let them
burn down into the flesh to the very bone. And when they take a stout fellow,
that they believe able to endure a great deal, they will tear all the flesh off
his bones with red hot pincers. While these and such like barbarities are
practising, the victors are so far from being touched with tenderness and
compassion, that they dance and sing round these wretched mortals, showing all
the marks of pleasure and jollity. And if such cruelties happen to be executed
in their towns, they employ their children in tormenting the prisoners, in
order to extinguish in them betimes all sentiments of humanity. In the mean
time, while these poor wretches are under the anguish of all this inhuman
treatment, they disdain so much as to groan, sigh, or show the least sign of
dismay or concern, so much as in their looks; on the contrary, they make it a
point of honour all the time to soften their features, and look as pleased as
if they were in the actual enjoyment of some delight; and if they never sang
before in their lives, they will be sure to be melodious on this sad and dismal
occasion. So prodigious a degree of passive valour in the Indians is the more
to be wondered at, because in all articles of danger they are apt to behave
like cowards. And what is still more surprising, the very women discover, on
such occasions, as great fortitude and contempt, both of pain and death, as the
gallantest of their men can do.265.

21st. The apprehensions we had
of losing the horses in these copse woods were too well founded, nor were the
precautions we used yesterday of driving them up sufficient to prevent their
straying away afterwards, not-withstanding they were securely hobbled. We
therefore ordered the men out early this morning to look diligently for them,
but it was late before any could be found. It seems they had straggled in quest
of forage, and, besides all that, the bushes grew thick enough to conceal them
from being seen at the smallest distance. One of the people was so bewildered
in search of his horse, that he lost himself, being no great forester. However,
because we were willing to save time, we left two of our most expert woodsmen
behind to beat all the adjacent woods in quest of him.266.

In the
mean while the surveyors proceeded vigorously on their business, but were so
perplexed with thickets at their first setting off, that their progress was
much retarded. They were no sooner over that difficulty, but they were obliged
to encounter another. The rest of their day’s work lay over very sharp hills,
where the dry leaves were so slippery that there was hardly any hold for their
feet. Such rubs as these prevented them from measuring more than four miles and
two hundred and seventy poles. Upon the sides of these hills the soil was rich,
though full of stones, and the trees reasonably large.267.

The smoke
continued still to veil the mountains from our sight, which made us long for
rain, or a brisk gale of wind, to disperse it. Nor was the loss of this wild
prospect all our concern, but we were apprehensive lest the woods should be
burnt in the course of our line before us, or happen to take fire behind us,
either of which would effectually have starved the horses, and made us all foot
soldiers. But we were so happy, thank God! as to escape this misfortune in
every part of our progress. We were exceedingly uneasy about our lost man,
knowing he had taken no provision of any kind, nor was it much advantage
towards his support, that he had taken his gun along with him, because he had
rarely been guilty of putting any thing to death. He had unluckily wandered
from the camp several miles, and after steering sundry unsuccessful courses, in
order to return, either to us or to the line, was at length so tired he could
go no farther. In this distress he sat himself down under a tree, to recruit
his jaded spirit, and at the same time indulge a few melancholy reflections.
Famine was the first phantom that appeared to him, and was the more frightful,
because he fancied himself not quite bear enough to subsist long upon licking
his paws. In the mean time the two persons we had sent after him hunted
diligently great part of the day without coming upon his track. They fired
their pieces towards every point of the compass, but could perceive no firing
in return. However, advancing a little farther, at last they made a lucky shot,
that our straggler had the good fortune to hear, and he returning the salute,
they soon found each other with no small satisfaction. But though they lighted
on the man, they could by no means light on his horse, and therefore he was
obliged to be a foot soldier all the rest of the journey. Our Indian shot a
bear so prodigiously fat, that there was no way to kill him but by firing in at
his ear. The fore part of the skull of that animal being guarded by a double
bone, is hardly penetrable, and when it is very fat, a bullet aimed at his body
is apt to lose its force, before it reaches the vitals. This animal is of the
dog kind, and our Indians, as well as woodsmen, are as fond of its flesh as the
Chinese can be of that of the common hound.268.

22d. Early in the
morning we sent back two men to make further search for the horse that was
strayed away. We were unwilling the poor man should sustain such a damage as
would eat out a large part of his pay, or that the public should be at the
expense of reimbursing him for it. These foresters hunted all over the
neighbouring woods, and took as much pains as if the horse had been their own
property, but all their diligence was to no purpose. The surveyors, in the mean
time, being fearful of leaving these men too far behind, advanced the line no
farther than one mile and two hundred and thirty poles. As we rode along we
found no less than three bears and a fat doe, that our Indian, who went out
before us, had thrown in our course, and we were very glad to pick them up.
About a mile from the camp we crossed Miry creek, so called because several of
the horses were mired in its branches. About two hundred and thirty poles
beyond that, the line intersected another river, that seemed to be a branch of
the Irvin, to which we gave the name of the Mayo, in complement to the other of
our surveyors. It was about fifty yards wide where we forded it, being just
below a ledge of rocks, which reached across the river, and made a natural
cascade. Our horses could hardly keep their feet over these slippery rocks,
which gave some of their riders no small palpitation. This river forks about a
quarter of a mile below the ford, and has some scattering canes growing near
the mouth of it. We pitched our tent on the western banks of the Mayo, for the
pleasure of being lulled to sleep by the cascade. Here our hunters had leisure
to go out and try their fortunes, and returned loaded with spoil. They brought
in no less than six bears, exceedingly fat, so that the frying pan had no rest
all night. We had now the opportunity of trying the speed of this lumpish
animal by a fair course it had with the nimblest of our surveyors. A cub of a
year old will run very fast, because, being upon his growth, he is never
encumbered with too much fat; but the old ones are more sluggish and unwieldy,
especially when mast is plenty. Then their nimblest gait is only a heavy
gallop, and their motion is still slower down hill, where they are obliged to
sidle along very awkwardly, to keep their lights from rising up into their
throat. These beasts always endeavour to avoid a man, except they are wounded,
or happen to be engaged in the protection of their cubs. By the force of these
instincts and that of self-preservation, they will now and then throw off all
reverence for their Maker’s image. For that reason, excess of hunger will
provoke them to the same desperate attack, for the support of their being. A
memorable instance of the last case is said to have happened not long ago in
New England, where a bear assaulted a man just by his own door, and rearing
himself upon his haunches, offered to take him lovingly into his hug. But the
man’s wife observing the danger her husband was in, had the courage to run
behind the bear, and thrust her two thumbs into his eyes. This made Bruin quit
the man, and turn short upon the woman to take his revenge, but she had the
presence of mind to spring back with more than female agility, and so both
their lives were preserved.269.

23d. At the distance of sixty-two
poles from where we lay, we crossed the south branch of what we took for the
Irvin, nor was it without difficulty we got over, though it happened to be
without damage. Great part of the way after that was mountainous, so that we
were no sooner got down one hill, but we were obliged to climb up another. Only
for the last mile of our stage, we encountered a locust thicket that was level,
but interlaced terribly with briers and grape vines. We forded a large creek,
no less than five times, the banks of which were so steep that we were forced
to cut them down with a hoe. We gave it the name of Crooked creek, because of
its meanders. The sides of it were planted with shrub-canes, extremely inviting
to the horses, which were now quite jaded with clambering up so many
precipices, and tugging through so many dismal thickets, notwithstanding which
we pushed the line this day four miles sixty-nine poles. The men were so
unthrifty this morning as to bring but a small portion of their abundance along
with them. This was the more unlucky, because we could discover no sort of game
the whole livelong day. Woodsmen are certainly good Christians in one respect,
at least, that they always leave the morrow to care for itself; though for that
very reason they ought to pray more fervently for their daily bread than most
of them remember to do.270.

The mountains were still concealed from
our eyes by a cloud of smoke. As we went along we were alarmed at the sight of
a great fire, which showed itself to the northward. This made our small corps
march in closer order than we used to do, lest perchance we might be waylaid by
Indians. It made us look out sharp to see if we could discover any track or
other token of these insidious foresters, but found none. In the mean time we
came often upon the track of bears, which cannot without some skill be
distinguished from that of human creatures, made with naked feet. And indeed a
young woodsman would be puzzled to find out the difference, which consists
principally in a bear’s paws being something smaller than a man’s foot, and in
its leaving sometimes the mark of its claws in the impression made upon the

The soil, where the locust thicket grew, was exceedingly
rich, as it constantly is, where that kind of tree is naturally and largely
produced. But the desolation made there lately, either by fire or caterpillars,
had been so general, that we could not see a tree of any bigness standing
within our prospect. And the reason why a fire makes such a havoc in these
lonely parts is this. The woods are not there burnt every year, as they
generally are amongst the inhabitants. But the dead leaves and trash of many
years are heaped up together, which being at length kindled by the Indians that
happen to pass that way, furnish fuel for a conflagration that carries all
before it. There is a beautiful range of hills, as level as a terrace-walk,
that overlooks the valley through which Crooked creek conveys its spiral
stream. This terrace runs pretty near east and west, about two miles south of
the line, and is almost parallel with it. The horses had been too much harassed
to permit us to ride at all out of our way, for the pleasure of any prospect,
or the gratification of any curiosity. This confined us to the narrow sphere of
our business, and is at the same time a just excuse for not animating our story
with greater variety.272.

24th. The surveyors went out the sooner
this morning, by reason the men lost very little time in cooking their
breakfast. They had made but a spare meal over night, leaving nothing but the
hide of a bear for the morrow. Some of the keenest of them got up at midnight
to cook that nice morsel after the Indian manner. They first singed the hair
clean off, that none of it might stick in their throats; then they boiled the
pelt into soup, which had a stratum of grease swimming upon, it full half an
inch thick. However, they commended this dish extremely; though I believe the
praises they gave it were more owing to their good stomach than to their good
taste. The line was extended six miles and three hundred poles, and in that
distance crossed Crooked creek at least eight times more. We were forced to
scuffle through a thicket about two miles in breadth, planted with locusts and
hickory saplings, as close as they could stand together. Amongst these there
was hardly a tree of tolerable growth within view. It was a dead plane of
several miles extent, and very fertile soil. Beyond that the woods were open
for about three miles, but mountainous. All the rest of our day’s journey was
pestered with bushes and grape vines, in the thickest of which we were obliged
to take up our quarters, near one of the branches of Crooked creek. This night
it was the men’s good fortune to fare very sumptuously. The Indian had killed
two large bears, the fattest of which he had taken napping. One of the people
too shot a rackoon, which is also of the dog kind, and as big as a small fox,
though its legs are shorter, and when fat has a much higher relish than either
mutton or kid. It is naturally not carnivorous, but very fond of Indian corn
and persimmons. The fat of this animal is reckoned very good to assuage
swellings and inflammations. Some old maids are at the trouble of breeding them
up tame, for the pleasure of seeing them play over as many humorous tricks as a
monkey. It climbs up small trees, like a bear, by embracing the bodies of them.
Till this night we had accustomed ourselves to go to bed in our night-gowns,
believing we should thereby be better secured from the cold: but upon trial
found we lay much warmer by stripping to our shirts, and spreading our gowns
over us. A true woodsman, if he have no more than a single blanket, constantly
pulls all off, and, lying on one part of it, draws the other over him,
believing it much more refreshing to lie so, than in his clothes; and if he
find himself not warm enough, shifts his lodging to leeward of the fire, in
which situation the smoke will drive over him, and effectually correct the cold
dews, that would otherwise descend upon his person, perhaps to his great

25th. The air clearing up this morning, we were again
agreeably surprised with a full prospect of the mountains. They discovered
themselves both to the north and south of us, on either side, not distant above
ten miles, according to our best computation. We could now see those to the
north rise in four distinct ledges, one above another, but those to the south
formed only a single ledge, and that broken and interrupted in many places; or
rather they were only single mountains detached from each other. One of the
southern mountains was so vastly high, it seemed to hide its head in the
clouds, and the west end of it terminated in a horrible precipice, that we
called the Despairing Lover’s Leap. The next to it, towards the east, was
lower, except at one end, where it heaved itself up in the form of a vast stack
of chimneys. The course of the northern mountains seemed to tend
west-south-west, and those to the southward very near west. We could descry
other mountains ahead of us, exactly in the course of the line, though at a
much greater distance. In this point of view, the ledges on the right and left
both seemed to close, and form a natural amphitheatre. Thus it was our fortune
to be wedged in betwixt these two ranges of mountains, insomuch that if our
line had run ten miles on either side, it had butted before this day either
upon one or the other, both of them now stretching away plainly to the eastward
of us. It had rained a little in the night, which dispersed the smoke and
opened this romantic scene to us all at once, though it was again hid from our
eyes as we moved forwards, by the rough woods we had the misfortune to be
engaged with. The bushes were so thick for near four miles together, that they
tore the deer skins to pieces that guarded the bread bags. Though, as rough as
the woods were, the soil was extremely good all the way, being washed down from
the neighbouring hills into the plain country. Notwithstanding all these
difficulties, the surveyors drove on the line four miles and two hundred and
five poles.274.

In the mean time we were so unlucky as to meet with
no sort of game the whole day, so that the men were obliged to make a frugal
distribution of what little they left in the morning. We encamped upon a small
rill, where the horses came off as temperately as their masters. They were by
this time grown so thin, by hard travel and spare feeding, that henceforth, in
pure compassion, we chose to perform the greater part of the journey on foot.
And as our baggage was by this time grown much lighter, we divided it, after
the best manner, so that every horse’s load might be proportioned to the
strength he had left. Though, after all the prudent measures we could take, we
perceived the hills began to rise upon us so fast in our front, that it would
be impossible for us to proceed much farther.275.

We saw very few
squirrels in the upper parts, because the wild cats devour them unmercifully.
Of these there are four kinds: the fox squirrel, the gray, the flying, and the
ground squirrel. These last resemble a rat in every thing but the tail, and the
black and russet streaks that run down the length of their little bodies.276.

26th. We found our way grow still more mountainous, after extending
the line three hundred poles farther. We came then to a rivulet that ran with a
swift current towards the south. This we fancied to be another branch of the
Irvin, though some of the men, who had been Indian traders, judged it rather to
be the head of Deep river, that discharges its stream into that of Pee Dee; but
this seemed a wild conjecture. The hills beyond that river were exceedingly
lofty, and not to be attempted by our jaded palfreys, which could now hardly
drag their legs after them upon level ground. Besides, the bread began to grow
scanty, and the winter season to advance apace upon us. We had likewise reason
to apprehend the consequences of being intercepted by deep snows, and the
swelling of the many waters between us and home. The first of these misfortunes
would starve all our horses, and the other ourselves, by cutting off our
retreat, and obliging us to winter in those desolate woods. These
considerations determined us to stop short here, and push our adventures no
farther. The last tree we marked was a red oak, growing on the bank of the
river; and to make the place more remarkable, we blazed all the trees around

We found the whole distance, from Coratuck inlet to the
rivulet where we left off, to be, in a straight line, two hundred and forty-one
miles and two hundred and thirty poles. And from the place where the Carolina
commissioners deserted us, seventy-two miles and three hundred and two poles.
This last part of the journey was generally very hilly, or else grown up with
troublesome thickets and underwoods, all which our Carolina friends had the
discretion to avoid. We encamped in a dirty valley near the rivulet
above-mentioned, for the advantage of the canes, and so sacrificed our own
convenience to that of our horses. There was a small mountain half a mile to
the northward of us, which we had the curiosity to climb up in the afternoon,
in order to enlarge our prospect. From thence we were able to discover where
the two ledges of mountains closed, as near as we could guess, about thirty
miles to the west of us, and lamented that our present circumstances would not
permit us to advance the line to that place, which the hand of Nature had made
so very remarkable.278.

Not far from our quarters one of the men
picked up a pair of elk’s horns, not very large, and discovered the track of
the elk that had shed them. It was rare to find any tokens of those animals so
far to the south, because they keep commonly to the northward of thirty-seven
degrees, as the buffaloes, for the most part, confine themselves to the
southward of that latitude. The elk is full as big as a horse, and of the deer
kind. The stags only have horns, and those exceedingly large and spreading.
Their colour is something lighter than that of the red deer, and their flesh
tougher. Their swiftest speed is a large trot, and in that motion they turn
their horns back upon their necks, and cock their noses aloft in the air.
Nature has taught them this attitude to save their antlers from being entangled
in the thickets, which they always retire to. They are very shy, and have the
sense of smelling so exquisite that they wind a man at a great distance. For
this reason they are seldom seen but when the air is moist, in which case their
smell is not so nice. They commonly herd together, and the Indians say, if one
of the drove happen by some wound to be disabled from making his escape, the
rest will forsake their fears to defend their friend, which they will do with
great obstinacy, till they are killed upon the spot. Though, otherwise, they
are so alarmed at the sight of a man, that to avoid him they will sometimes
throw themselves down very high precipices into the river.279.

misadventure happened here, which gave us no small perplexity. One of the
commissioners was so unlucky as to bruise his foot against a stump, which
brought on a formal fit of the gout. It must be owned there could not be a more
unseasonable time, nor a more improper situation, for any one to be attacked by
that cruel distemper. The joint was so inflamed that he could neither draw shoe
nor boot upon it; and to ride without either would have exposed him to so many
rude knocks and bruises, in those rough woods, as to be intolerable even to a
stoic. It was happy, indeed, that we were to rest here the next day, being
Sunday, that there might be leisure for trying some speedy remedy. Accordingly
he was persuaded to bathe his foot in cold water, in order to repel the humour
and assuage the inflammation. This made it less painful, and gave us hopes,
too, of reducing the swelling in a short time.280.

Our men had the
fortune to kill a brace of bears, a fat buck, and a wild turkey, all which paid
them with interest for yesterday’s abstinence. This constant and seasonable
supply of our daily wants made us reflect thankfully on the bounty of
Providence. And that we might not be unmindful of being all along fed by Heaven
in this great and solitary wilderness, we agreed to wear in our hats the
maosti, which is, in Indian, the beard of a wild turkey-cock, and on our
breasts the figure of that fowl with its wings extended, and holding in its
claws a scroll, with this motto, “Vice coturnicum,” meaning that
we had been supported by them in the wilderness in the room of quails.281.

27th. This being Sunday we were not wanting in our thanks to Heaven
for the constant support and protection we had been favoured with. Nor did our
chaplain fail to put us in mind of our duty by a sermon proper for the
occasion. We ordered a strict inquiry to be made into the quantity of bread we
had left, and found no more than would subsist us a fortnight at short
allowance. We made a fair distribution of our whole stock, and at the same time
recommended to the men to manage this, their last stake, to the best advantage,
not knowing how long they would be obliged to live upon it. We likewise
directed them to keep a watchful eye upon their horses, that none of them might
be missing the next morning, to hinder our return. There fell some rain before
noon, which made our camp more a bog than it was before. This moist situation
began to infect some of the men with fevers, and some with fluxes, which
however we soon removed with Peruvian bark and ipocoacanah. In the afternoon we
marched up again to the top of the hill to entertain our eyes a second time
with the view of the mountains, but a perverse fog arose that hid them from our
sight. In the evening we deliberated which way it might be most proper to
return. We had at first intended to cross over at the foot of the mountains to
the head of James river, that we might be able to describe that natural
boundary so far. But, on second thoughts, we found many good reasons against
that laudable design, such as the weakness of our horses, the scantiness of our
bread, and the near approach of winter. We had cause to believe the way might
be full of hills, and the farther we went towards the north, the more danger
there would be of snow. Such considerations as these determined us at last to
make the best of our way back upon the line, which was the straightest, and
consequently the shortest way to the inhabitants. We knew the worst of our
course, and were sure of a beaten path all the way, while we were totally
ignorant what difficulties and dangers the other course might be attended with.
So prudence got the better for once of curiosity, and the itch for new
discoveries gave place to self-preservation. Our inclination was the stronger
to cross over according to the course of the mountains, that we might find out
whether James river and Appomattox river head there, or run quite through them.
It is certain that Potomac passes in a large stream through the main ledge, and
then divides itself into two considerable rivers. That which stretches away to
the northward is called Cohungaroota, * and that which
flows to the south-west, hath the name of Sharantow. The course of this last
stream is near parrallel to the Blue Ridge of mountains, at the distance only
of about three or four miles. Though how far it may continue that course has
not yet been sufficiently discovered, but some woodsmen pretend to say it runs
as far as the source of Roanoke; nay, they are so very particular as to tell us
that Roanoke, Sharantow, and another wide branch of Mississippi, all head in
one and the same mountain. What dependence there may be upon this conjectural
geography, I will not pretend to say, though it is certain that Sharantow keeps
close to the mountains, as far as we are acquainted with its tendency. We are
likewise assured that the south branch of James river, within less than twenty
miles east of the main ledge, makes an elbow, and runs due south-west, which is
parallel with the mountains on this side. But how far it stretches that way,
before it returns, is not yet certainly known, no more than where it takes its

In the mean time it is strange that our woodsmen have not
had curiosity enough to inform themselves more exactly of these particulars,
and it is stranger still that the government has never thought it worth the
expense of making an accurate survey of the mountains, that we might be masters
of that natural fortification before the French, who in some places have
settlements not very distant from it. It therefore concerns his majesty’s
service very nearly, and the safety of his subjects in this part of the world,
to take possession of so important a barrier in time, lest our good friends,
the French, and the Indians, through their means, prove a perpetual annoyance
to these colonies. Another reason to invite us to secure this great ledge of
mountains is, the probability that very valuable mines may be discovered there.
Nor would it be at all extravagant to hope for silver mines, among the rest,
because part of these mountains lie exactly in the same parallel, as well as
upon the same continent with New Mexico, and the mines of St. Barb.283.

28th. We had given orders for the horses to be brought up early, but
the likelihood of more rain prevented our being over-hasty in decamping. Nor
were we out in our conjectures, for about ten o’clock it began to fall very
plentifully. Our commissioner’s pain began now to abate, as the swelling
increased. He made an excellent figure for a mountaineer, with one boot of
leather and the other of flannel. Thus accoutred, he intended to mount, if the
rain had not happened opportunely to prevent him. Though, in truth, it was
hardly possible for him to ride with so slender a defence, without exposing his
foot to be bruised and tormented by the saplings, that stood thick on either
side of the path. It was therefore a most seasonable rain for him, as it gave
more time for his distemper to abate. Though it may be very difficult to find a
certain cure for the gout, yet it is not improbable but some things may ease
the pain, and shorten the fits of it. And those medicines are most likely to do
this, that supple the parts, and clear the passage through the narrow vessels,
that are the seat of this cruel disease. Nothing will do this more suddenly
than rattle-snake’s oil, which will even penetrate the pores of glass when
warmed in the sun. It was unfortunate, therefore, that we had not taken out the
fat of those snakes we had killed some time before, for the benefit of so
useful an experiment, as well as for the relief of our fellow-traveller. But
lately the Seneca rattle-snake root has been discovered in this country, which
being infused in wine, and drunk morning and evening, has in several instances
had a very happy effect upon the gout, and enabled cripples to throw away their
crutches and walk several miles, and, what is stranger still, it takes away the
pain in half an hour. Nor was the gout the only disease amongst us that was
hard to cure. We had a man in our company who had too voracious a stomach for a
woodsman. He ate as much as any other two, but all he swallowed stuck by him
till it was carried off by a strong purge. Without this assistance, often
repeated, his belly and bowels would swell to so enormous a bulk that he could
hardly breathe, especially when he lay down, just as if he had had an asthma;
though, notwithstanding this oddness of constitution, he was a very strong,
lively fellow, and used abundance of violent exercise, by which it was
wonderful the peristaltic motion was not more vigorously promoted. We gave this
poor man several purges, which only eased him for the present, and the next day
he would grow as burly as ever. At last we gave him a moderate dose of
ipocoacanah, in broth made very salt, which turned all its operation downwards.
This had so happy an effect that, from that day forward to the end of our
journey, all his complaints ceased, and the passages continued

The rain continued most of the day and some part
of the night, which incommoded us much in our dirty camp, and made the men
think of nothing but eating, even at the time when nobody could stir out to
make provision for it.285.

29th. Though we were flattered in the
morning with the usual tokens of a fair day, yet they all blew over, and it
rained hard before we could make ready for our departure. This was still in
favour of our podagrous friend, whose lameness was now grown better, and the
inflammation fallen. Nor did it seem to need above one day more to reduce it to
its natural proportion, and make it fit for the boot; and effectually the rain
procured this benefit for him, and gave him particular reason to believe his
stars propitious. Notwithstanding the falling weather, our hunters sallied out
in the afternoon, and drove the woods in a ring, which was thus performed. From
the circumference of a large circle they all marched inwards and drove the game
towards the centre. By this means they shot a brace of fat bears, which came
very seasonably, because we had made clean work in the morning and were in
danger of dining with St. Anthony, or his grace Duke Humphry. But in this
expedition the unhappy man who had lost himself once before, straggled again so
far in pursuit of a deer, that he was hurried a second time quite out of his
knowledge; and night coming on before he could recover the camp, he was obliged
to lie down, without any of the comforts of fire, food or covering; nor would
his fears suffer him to sleep very sound, because, to his great disturbance,
the wolves howled all that night, and the panthers screamed most frightfully.
In the evening a brisk north-wester swept all the clouds from the sky, and
exposed the mountains as well as the stars to our prospect. That which was the
most lofty to the southward, and which we called the Lover’s Leap, some of our
Indian traders fondly fancied was the Kiawan mountain, which they had formerly
seen from the country of the Cherokees. They were the more positive by reason
of the prodigious precipice that remarkably distinguished the west end of it.
We seemed however not to be far enough south for that, though it is not
improbable but a few miles farther the course of our line might carry us to the
most northerly towns of the Cherokees. What makes this the more credible, is
the north-west course, that our traders take from the Catawbas for some hundred
miles together, when they carry goods that round-about way to the Cherokees. It
was a great pity that the want of bread, and the weakness of our horses,
hindered us from making the discovery. Though the great service such an
excursion might have been to the country would certainly have made the attempt
not only pardonable, but much to be commended. Our traders are now at the vast
charge and fatigue of travelling above five hundred miles for the benefit of
that traffic which hardly quits cost. Would it not then be worth the assembly’s
while to be at some charge to find a shorter cut to carry on so profitable a
trade, with more advantage, and less hazard and trouble, than they do at
present? For I am persuaded it will not then be half the distance that our
traders make it now, nor half so far as Georgia lies from the northern clans of
that nation. Such a discovery would certainly prove an unspeakable advantage to
this colony, by facilitating a trade with so considerable a nation of Indians,
which have sixty-two towns, and more than four thousand fighting men. Our
traders at that rate would be able to undersell those sent from the other
colonies so much, that the Indians must have reason to deal with them
preferable to all others. Of late the new colony of Georgia has made an act
obliging us to go four hundred miles to take out a license to traffic with
these Cherokees, though many of their towns lie out of their bounds, and we had
carried on this trade eighty years before that colony was thought of.286.

30th. In the morning early the man who had gone astray the day
before found his way to the camp, by the sound of the bells that were upon the
horses’ necks. At nine o’clock we began our march back towards the rising sun;
for though we had finished the line, yet we had not yet near finished our
fatigue. We had after all two hundred good miles at least to our several
habitations, and the horses were brought so low, that we were obliged to travel
on foot great part of the way, and that in our boots, too, to save our legs
from being torn to pieces by the bushes and briers. Had we not done this, we
must have left all our horses behind, which could now hardly drag their legs
after them, and with all the favour we could show the poor animals, we were
forced to set seven of them free, not far from the foot of the mountains. Four
men were despatched early to clear the road, that our lame commissioner’s leg
might be in less danger of being bruised, and that the baggage horses might
travel with less difficulty and more expedition. As we passed along, by favour
of a serene sky, we had still, from every eminence, a perfect view of the
mountains, as well to the north as to the south. We could not forbear now and
then facing about to survey them, as if unwilling to part with a prospect,
which at the same time, like some rake’s, was very wild and very agreeable. We
encouraged the horses to exert the little strength they had, and being light,
they made a shift to jog on about eleven miles. We encamped on Crooked creek,
near a thicket of canes. In the front of our camp rose a very beautiful hill,
that bounded our view at about a mile’s distance, and all the intermediate
space was covered with green canes. Though, to our sorrow, fire-wood was
scarce, which was now the harder upon us, because a north-wester blew very cold
from the mountains.287.

The Indian killed a stately, fat buck, and
we picked his bones as clean as a score of turkey-buzzards could have done. By
the advantage of a clear night, we made trial once more of the variation, and
found it much the same as formerly. This being his majesty’s birthday, we drank
all the loyal healths in excellent water, not for the sake of the drink, (like
many of our fellow subjects,) but purely for the sake of the toast. And because
all public mirth should be a little noisy, we fired several volleys of canes,
instead of guns, which gave a loud report. We threw them into the fire, where
the air enclosed betwixt the joints of the canes, being expanded by the violent
heat, burst its narrow bounds with a considerable explosion!288.

the evening one of the men knocked down an opossum, which is a harmless little
beast, that will seldom go out of your way, and if you take hold of it, will
only grin, and hardly ever bite. The flesh was well tasted and tender,
approaching nearest to pig, which it also resembles in bigness. The colour of
its fur was a goose gray, with a swine’s snout, and a tail like a rat’s, but at
least a foot long. By twisting this tail about the arm of a tree, it will hang
with all its weight, and swing to any thing it wants to take hold of. It has
five claws on the fore feet of equal length, but the hinder feet have only four
claws, and a sort of thumb standing off at a proper distance. Their feet being
thus formed, qualify them for climbing up trees to catch little birds, which
they are very fond of. But the greatest particularity of this creature, and
which distinguishes it from most others that we are acquainted with, is the
false belly of the female, into which her young retreat in time of danger. She
can draw the slit, which is the inlet into this pouch, so close, that you must
look narrowly to find it, especially if she happen to be a virgin. Within the
false belly may be seen seven or eight teats, on which the young ones grow from
their first formation till they are big enough to fall off, like ripe fruit
from a tree. This is so odd a method of generation, that I should not have
believed it without the testimony of mine own eyes. Besides a knowing and
credible person has assured me he has more than once observed the embryo
opossums growing to the teat before they were completely shaped, and afterwards
watched their daily growth till they were big enough for birth. And all this he
could the more easily pry into, because the dam was so perfectly gentle and
harmless, that he could handle her just as he pleased. I could hardly persuade
myself to publish a thing so contrary to the course that nature takes in the
production of other animals, unless it were a matter commonly believed in all
countries where that creature is produced, and has been often observed by
persons of undoubted credit and understanding. They say that the leather-winged
bats produce their young in the same uncommon manner. And that young sharks at
sea, and young vipers ashore, run down the throats of their dams when they are
closely pursued.289.

The frequent crossing of Crooked creek, and
mounting the steep banks of it, gave the finishing stroke to the foundering our
horses: and no less than two of them made a full stop here, and would not
advance a foot father, either by fair means or foul. We had a dreamer of dreams
amongst us, who warned me in the morning to take care of myself, or I should
infallibly fall into the creek; I thanked him kindly, and used what caution I
could, but was not able it seems to avoid my destiny, for my horse made a false
step and laid me down at my full length in the water. This was enough to bring
dreaming into credit, and I think it much for the honour of our expedition,
that it was graced not only with a priest but also with a prophet. We were so
perplexed with this serpentine creek, as well as in passing the branches of the
Irvin, (which were swelled since we saw them before,) that we could reach but
five miles this whole day. In the evening we pitched our tent near Miry creek,
(though an uncomfortable place to lodge in) purely for the advantage of the
canes. Our hunters killed a large doe and two bears, which made all other
misfortunes easy. Certainly no Tartar ever loved horse-flesh, nor Hottentot
guts and garbage, better than woodsmen do bear. The truth of it is, it may be
proper food perhaps for such as work or ride it off, but, with our chaplain’s
leave, who loved it much, I think it not a very proper diet for saints, who do
not mortify the flesh by toil. And now, for the good of mankind, and for the
better peopling an infant colony, which has no want but that of inhabitants, I
will venture to publish a secret of importance, which our Indian disclosed to
me. I asked him the reason why few or none of his country women were barren? To
which curious question he answered, with a broad grin upon his face, they had
an infallible secret for that. Upon my being importunate to know what the
secret might be, he informed me that, if any Indian woman did not prove with
child at a decent time after marriage, the husband, to save his reputation with
the women, forthwith entered into a bear-diet for six weeks, which in that time
produces such healthy effect, that it is great odds but his wife becomes a
mother in nine months. And thus much. I am able to say, besides, for the
reputation of the bear diet, that all the married men of our company were
joyful fathers within forty weeks after they got home, and most of the single
men had children sworn to them within the same time, our chaplain always
excepted, who, with much ado, made a shift to cast out that importunate kind of
devil, by dint of fasting and prayer.290.

November 1st. By the
negligence of one of the men in not hobbling his horse, he straggled so far
that he could not be found. This stopped us all the morning long; yet, because
our time should not be entirely lost, we endeavoured to observe the latitude at
twelve o’clock. Though our observation was not perfect, by reason the wind blew
a little too fresh, however, by such a one as we could make, we found ourselves
in thirty-six degrees twenty minutes only. Notwithstanding our being thus
delayed, and the uneveness of the ground, over which we were obliged to walk,
(for most of us served now in the infantry,) we travelled no less than six
miles, though as merciful as we were to our poor beasts, another of them tired
by the way, and was left behind for the wolves and panthers to feast upon.291.

As we marched along, we had the fortune to kill a brace of bucks, as
many bears, and one wild turkey. But this was carrying our sport to wantonness,
because we butchered more than we were able to transport. We ordered the deer
to be quartered and divided among the horses for the lighter carriage, and
recommended the bears to our daily attendants, the turkey-buzzards. We always
chose to carry venison along with us rather than bear, not only because it was
less cumbersome, but likewise because the people could eat it without bread,
which was now almost spent. Whereas the other, being richer food, lay too heavy
upon the stomach, unless it were lightened by something farinaceous. This is
what I thought proper to remark, for the service of all those whose business or
diversion shall oblige them to live any time in the woods. And because I am
persuaded that very useful matters may be found out by searching this great
wilderness, especially the upper parts of it, about the mountains, I conceive
it will help to engage able men in that good work, if I recommend a wholesome
kind of food, of very small weight and very great nourishment, that will secure
them from starving, in case they should be so unlucky as to meet with no game.
The chief discouragement at present from penetrating far into the woods is the
trouble of carrying a load of provisions. I must own famine is a frightful
monster, and for that reason to be guarded against as well as we can. But the
common precautions against it, are so burthensome, that people cannot tarry
long out, and go far enough from home, to make any effectual discovery. The
portable provisions I would furnish our foresters withal are glue-broth and
rockahominy: one contains the essence of bread, the other of meat. The best way
of making the glue-broth is after the following method: Take a leg of beef,
veal, venison, or any other young meat, because old meat will not so easily
jelly. Pare off all the fat, in which there is no nutriment, and of the lean
make a very strong broth, after the usual manner, by boiling the meat to rags
till all the goodness be out. After skimming off what fat remains, pour the
broth into a wide stew-pan, well tinned, and let it simmer over a gentle even
fire, till it come to a thick jelly. Then take it off and set it over boiling
water, which is an evener heat, and not so apt to burn the broth to the vessel.
Over that let it evaporate, stirring it very often till it be reduced, when
cold, into a solid substance like glue. Then cut it into small pieces, laying
them single in the cold, that they may dry the sooner. When the pieces are
perfectly dry, put them into a canister, and they will be good, if kept dry, a
whole East India voyage. This glue is so strong, that two or three drachms,
dissolved in boiling water with a little salt, will make half a pint of good
broth, and if you should be faint with fasting or fatigue, let a small piece of
this glue melt in your mouth, and you will find yourself surprisingly
refreshed. One pound of this cookery would keep a man in good heart above a
month, and is not only nourishing, but likewise very wholesome. Particularly it
is good against fluxes, which woodsmen are very liable to, by lying too near
the moist ground, and guzzling too much cold water. But as it will be only used
now and then, in times of scarcity, when game is wanting, two pounds of it will
be enough for a journey of six months. But this broth will be still more
heartening, if you thicken every mess with half a spoonful of rockahominy,
which is nothing but Indian corn parched without burning, and reduced to
powder. The fire drives out all the watery parts of the corn, leaving the
strength of it behind, and this being very dry, becomes much lighter for
carriage and less liable to be spoiled by the moist air. Thus half a dozen
pounds of this sprightful bread will sustain a man for as many months, provided
he husband it well, and always spare it when he meets with venison, which, as I
said before, may be very safely eaten without any bread at all. By what I have
said, a man need not encumber himself with more than eight or ten pounds of
provisions, though he continue half a year in the woods. These and his gun will
support him very well during that time, without the least danger of keeping one
single fast. And though some of his days may be what the French call jours
maigres, yet there will happen no more of those than will be necessary for his
health, and to carry off the excesses of the days of plenty, when our
travellers will be apt to indulge their lawless appetites too much.292.

2d. The heavens frowned this morning, and threatened abundance of
rain, but our zeal for returning made us defy the weather, and decamp a little
before noon. Yet we had not advanced two miles, before a soaking shower made us
glad to pitch our tent as fast as we could. We chose for that purpose a rising
ground, half a mile to the east of Matrimony creek. This was the first and only
time we were caught in the rain, during the whole expedition. It used before to
be so civil as to fall in the night, after we were safe in our quarters, and
had trenched ourselves in; or else it came upon us on Sundays, when it was no
interruption to our progress, nor any inconvenience to our persons. We had,
however, been so lucky in this particular before, that we had abundant reason
to take our present soaking patiently, and the misfortune was the less, because
we had taken precaution to keep all our baggage and bedding perfectly dry. This
rain was enlivened with very loud thunder, which was echoed back by the hills
in the neighbourhood in a frightful manner. There is something in the woods
that makes the sound of this meteor more awful, and the violence of the
lightning more visible. The trees are frequently shivered quite down to the
root, and sometimes perfectly twisted. But of all the effects of lightning that
ever I heard of, the most amazing happened in this country, in the year 1736.
In the summer of that year a surgeon of a ship, whose name was Davis, came
ashore at York to visit a patient. He was no sooner got into the house, but it
began to rain with many terrible claps of thunder. When it was almost dark
there came a dreadful flash of lightning, which struck the surgeon dead as he
was walking about the room, but hurt no other person, though several were near
him. At the same time it made a large hole in the trunk of a pine tree, which
grew about ten feet from the window. But what was most surprising in this
disaster was, that on the breast of the unfortunate man that was killed was the
figure of a pine tree, as exactly delineated as any limner in the world could
draw it, nay, the resemblance went so far as to represent the colour of the
pine, as well as the figure. The lightning must probably have passed through
the tree first before it struck the man, and by that means have printed the
icon of it on his breast. But whatever may have been the cause, the effect was
certain, and can be attested by a cloud of witnesses who had the curiosity to
go and see this wonderful phenomenon. The worst of it was, we were forced to
encamp in a barren place, where there was hardly a blade of grass to be seen,
even the wild rosemary failed us here, which gave us but too just apprehensions
that we should not only be obliged to trudge all the way home on foot, but also
to lug our baggage at our backs into the bargain. Thus we learned by our own
experience, that horses are very improper animals to use in a long ramble into
the woods, and the better they have been used to be fed, they are still the
worse. Such will fall away a great deal faster, and fail much sooner, than
those which are wont to be at their own keeping. Besides, horses that have been
accustomed to a plain and champaign country will founder presently, when they
come to clamber up hills, and batter their hoofs against continual rocks. We
need Welsh runts, and Highland Galloways to climb our mountains withal; they
are used to precipices, and will bite as close as Banstead Down sheep. But I
should much rather recommend mules, if we had them, for these long and painful
expeditions; though, till they can be bred, certainly asses are the fittest
beasts of burthen for the mountains. They are sure-footed, patient under the
heaviest fatigue, and will subsist upon moss, or browsing on shrubs all the
winter. One of them will carry the necessary luggage of four men, without any
difficulty, and upon a pinch will take a quarter of bear or venison upon their
backs into the bargain. Thus, when the men are light and disengaged from every
thing but their guns, they may go the whole journey on foot with pleasure. And
though my dear countrymen have so great a passion for riding, that they will
often walk two miles to catch a horse, in order to ride one, yet, if they will
please to take my word for it, when they go into the woods upon discovery, I
would advise them by all means to march a-foot, for they will then be delivered
from the great care and concern for their horses, which takes up too large a
portion of their time. Over night we are now at the trouble of hobbling them
out, and often of leading them a mile or two to a convenient place for forage,
and then in the morning we are some hours in finding them again, because they
are apt to stray a great way from the place where they were turned out. Now and
then, too, they are lost for a whole day together, and are frequently so weak
and jaded, that the company must lie still several days, near some meadow, or
highland pond, to recruit them. All these delays retard their progress
intolerably; whereas, if they had only a few asses, they would abide close to
the camp, and find sufficient food every where, and in all seasons of the year.
Men would then be able to travel safely over hills and dales, nor would the
steepest mountains obstruct their progress. They might also search more
narrowly for mines and other productions of nature, without being confined to
level grounds, in compliment to the jades they ride on. And one may foretell,
without the spirit of divination, that so long as woodsmen continue to range on
horse-back, we shall be strangers to our own country, and few or no valuable
discoveries will ever be made! The French couriers de bois, who have run from
one end of the continent to the other, have performed it all on foot, or else
in all probability must have continued full as ignorant as we are. Our country
has now been inhabited more than one hundred and thirty years by the English,
and still we hardly know any thing of the Appallachian mountains, that are no
where above two hundred and fifty miles from the sea. Whereas the French, who
are later comers, have ranged from Quebec southward as far as the mouth of
Mississippi, in the bay of Mexico, and to the west almost as far as California,
which is either way above two thousand miles.293.

3d. A north-west
wind having cleared the sky, we were now tempted to travel on a Sunday, for the
first time, for want of more plentiful forage, though some of the more
scrupulous amongst us were unwilling to do evil, that good might come of it,
and make our cattle work a good part of the day in order to fill their bellies
at night. However, the chaplain put on his casuistical face, and offered to
take the sin upon himself. We therefore consented to move a Sabbath day’s
journey of three or four miles, it appearing to be a matter of some necessity.
On the way our unmerciful Indian killed no less than two brace of deer and a
large bear. We only primed the deer, being unwilling to be encumbered with
their whole carcasses. The rest we consigned to the wolves, which in return
serenaded us great part of the night. They are very clamorous in their
banquets, which we know is the way some other brutes have, in the extravagance
of their jollity and sprightliness, of expressing their thanks to

We came to our old camp, in sight of the river
Irvin, whose stream was swelled now near four feet with the rain that fell the
day before. This made it impracticable for us to ford it, nor could we guess
when the water would fall enough to let us go over. This put our mathematical
professor, who should have set a better example, into the vapours, fearing he
should be obliged to take up his winter quarters in that doleful wilderness.
But the rest were not infected with his want of faith, but preserved a firmness
of mind superior to such little adverse accidents. They trusted that the same
good Providence which had most remarkably prospered them hitherto, would
continue his goodness and conduct them safe to the end of their journey.
However, we found plainly that travelling on the Sunday, contrary to our
constant rule, had not thriven with us in the least. We were not gainers of any
distance by it, because the river made us pay two days for violating one.
Nevertheless, by making this reflection, I would not be thought so rigid an
observer of the sabbath as to allow of no work at all to be done, or journeys
to be taken upon it. I should not care to lie still and be knocked on the head,
as the Jews were heretofore by Antiochus, because I believed it unlawful to
stand upon my defence on this good day. Nor would I care, like a certain New
England magistrate, to order a man to the whipping post, for daring to ride for
a midwife on the Lord’s day. On the contrary, I am for doing all acts of
necessity, charity, and self-preservation, upon a Sunday as well as other days
of the week. But, as I think our present march could not strictly be justified
by any of these rules, it was but just we should suffer a little for it. I
never could learn that the Indians set apart any day of the week or the year
for the service of God. They pray, as philosophers eat, only when they have a
stomach, without having any set time for it. Indeed these idle people have very
little occasion for a sabbath to refresh themselves after hard labour, because
very few of them ever labour at all. Like the wild Irish, they would rather
want than work, and are all men of pleasure, to whom every day is a day of
rest. Indeed, in their hunting, they will take a little pains; but this being
only a diversion, their spirits are rather raised than depressed by it, and
therefore need at most but a night’s sleep to recruit them.295.

By some stakes we had driven into the river yesterday, we perceived the water
began to fall, but fell so slowly that we found we must have patience a day or
two longer. And because we were unwilling to lie altogether idle, we sent back
some of the men to bring up the two horses that tired the Saturday before. They
were found near the place where we had left them, but seemed too sensible of
their liberty to come to us. They were found standing indeed, but as motionless
as the equestrian statue at Charing-Cross. We had great reason to apprehend
more rain by the clouds that drove over our heads. The boldest amongst us were
not without some pangs of uneasiness at so very sullen a prospect. However, God
be praised! it all blew over in a few hours. If much rain had fallen, we
resolved to make a raft and bind it together with grape vines, to ferry
ourselves and baggage over the river. Though, in that case, we expected the
swiftness of the stream would have carried down our raft a long way before we
could have tugged it to the opposite shore.296.

One of the young
fellows we had sent to bring up the tired horses entertained us in the evening
with a remarkable adventure he had met with that day. He had straggled, it
seems, from his company in a mist, and made a cub of a year old betake itself
to a tree. While he was new-priming his piece, with intent to fetch it down,
the old gentlewoman appeared, and perceiving her heir apparent in distress,
advanced open-mouthed to his relief. The man was so intent upon his game, that
she had approached very near him before he perceived her. But finding his
danger, he faced about upon the enemy, which immediately reared upon her
posteriors, and put herself in battle array. The man, admiring at the bear’s
assurance, endeavoured to fire upon her, but by the dampness of the priming,
his gun did not go off. He cocked it a second time, and had the same
misfortune. After missing fire twice, he had the folly to punch the beast with
the muzzle of his piece; but mother Bruin, being upon her guard, seized the
weapon with her paws, and by main strength wrenched it out of the fellow’s
hands. The man being thus fairly disarmed, thought himself no longer a match
for the enemy, and therefore retreated as fast as his legs could carry him. The
brute naturally grew bolder upon the flight of her adversary, and pursued him
with all her heavy speed. For some time it was doubtful whether fear made one
run faster, or fury the other. But after an even course of about fifty yards,
the man had the mishap to stumble over a stump, and fell down at his full
length. He now wouldhave sold his life a penny-worth; but the bear,
apprehending there might be some trick in the fall, instantly halted, and
looked with much attention on her prostrate foe. In the mean while, the man had
with great presence of mind resolved to make the bear believe he was dead, by
lying breathless on the ground, in hopes that the beast would be too generous
to kill him over again. To carry on the farce, he acted the corpse for some
time without daring to raise his head, to see how near the monster was to him.
But in about two minutes, to his unspeakable comfort, he was raised from the
dead by the barking of a dog, belonging to one of his companions, who came
seasonably to his rescue, and drove the bear from pursuing the man to take care
of her cub, which she feared might now fall into a second distress.297.

5th. We judged the waters were assuaged this morning to make the
river fordable. Therefore about ten we tried the experiment, and every body got
over safe, except one man, whose horse slipped from a rock as he forded over,
and threw him into the river. But being able to swim, he was not carried down
the stream very far before he recovered the north shore. At the distance of
about six miles we passed Cascade creek, and three miles farther we came upon
the banks of the Dan, which we crossed with much difficulty, by reason the
water was risen much higher than when we forded it before. Here the same
unlucky person happened to be ducked a second time, and was a second time saved
by swimming. My own horse too plunged in such a manner that his head was more
than once under water, but with much ado recovered his feet, though he made so
low an obeisance, that the water ran fairly over my saddle.298.

continued our march as far as Lowland creek, where we took up our lodging, for
the benefit of the canes and winter grass that grew upon the rich grounds
thereabouts. On our way thither we had the misfortune to drop another horse,
though he carried nothing the whole day but his saddle. We showed the same
favour to most of our horses, for fear, if we did not do it, we should in a
little time be turned into beasts of burthen ourselves. Custom had now made
travelling on foot so familiar, that we were able to walk ten miles with
pleasure. This we could do in our boots, notwithstanding our way lay over rough
woods and uneven grounds. Our learning to walk in heavy boots was the same
advantage to us that learning to dance high dances in wooden shoes is to the
French, it made us most exceedingly nimble without them. The Indians, who have
no way of travelling but on the hoof, make nothing of going twenty-five miles a
day, and carrying their little necessaries at their backs, and sometimes a
stout pack of skins into the bargain. And very often they laugh at the English,
who cannot stir to a next neighbour without a horse, and say that two legs are
too much for such lazy people, who cannot visit their next neighbour without
six. For their parts, they were utter strangers to all our beasts of burthen or
carriage, before the slothful Europeans came amongst them. They had on no part
of the American continent, or in any of the islands, either horses or asses,
camels, dromedaries or elephants, to ease the legs of the original inhabitants,
or to lighten their labour. Indeed, in South America, and particularly in
Chili, they have a useful animal called “paco.” This creature
resembles a sheep pretty much; only in the length of the neck, and figure of
the head, it is more like a camel. It is very near as high as the ass, and the
Indians there make use of it for carrying moderate burthens. The fleece that
grows upon it is very valuable for the fineness, length and glossiness of the
wool. It has one remarkable singularity, that the hoofs of its fore-feet have
three clefts, and those behind no more than one. The flesh of this animal is
something drier than our mutton, but altogether as well tasted. When it is
angry, it has no way of resenting its wrongs, but by spitting in the face of
those that provoke it: and if the spawl happen to light on the bare skin of any
person, it first creates an itching, and afterwards a scab, if no remedy be
applied. The way to manage these pacos, and make them tractable, is, to bore a
hole in their ears, through which they put a rope, and then guide them just as
they please. In Chili, they wear a beautiful kind of stuff, with thread made of
this creature’s wool, which has a gloss superior to any camlet, and is sold
very dear in that country.299.

6th. The difficulty of finding the
horses among the tall canes made it late before we decamped. We traversed very
hilly grounds, but to make amends it was pretty clear of underwood. We avoided
crossing the Dan twice by taking a compass round the bend of it. There was no
passing by the angle of the river without halting a moment to entertain our
eyes again with that charming prospect. When that pleasure was over we
proceeded to Sable creek, and encamped a little to the east of it. The river
thereabouts had a charming effect, its banks being adorned with green canes,
sixteen feet high, which make a spring all the year, as well as plenty of
forage all the winter. One of the men wounded an old buck, that was gray with
years, and seemed by the reverend marks he bore upon him, to confirm the
current opinion of that animal’s longevity. The smart of his wounds made him
not only turn upon the dogs, but likewise pursue them to some distance with
great fury. However he got away at last, though by the blood that issued from
his wound he could not run far before he fell, and without doubt made a
comfortable repast for the wolves. However the Indian had better fortune, and
supplied us with a fat doe, and a young bear two years old. At that age they
are in their prime, and, if they be fat withal, they are a morsel for a

All the land we travelled over this day, and the day
before, that is to say from the river Irvin to Sable creek, is exceedingly
rich, both on the Virginia side of the line, and that of Carolina. Besides
whole forests of canes, that adorn the banks of the river and creeks
threabouts, the fertility of the soil throws out such a quantity of winter
grass, that horses and cattle might keep themselves in heart all the cold
season without the help of any fodder. Nor have the low grounds only this
advantage, but likewise the higher land, and particularly that which we call
the Highland Pond, which is two miles broad, and of a length unknown.301.

I question not but there are thirty thousand acres at least, lying
altogether, as fertile as the lands were said to be about Babylon, which
yielded, if Herodotus tells us right, an increase of no less than two or three
hundred for one. But this hath the advantage of being a higher, and
consequently a much healthier, situation than that. So that a colony of one
thousand families might, with the help of moderate industry, pass their time
very happily there. Besides grazing and tillage, which would abundantly
compensate their labour, they might plant vineyards upon the hills, in which
situation the richest wines are always produced. They might also propagate
white mulberry trees, which thrive exceedingly in this climate, in order to the
feeding of silk-worms, and making of raw silk. They might too produce hemp,
flax and cotton, in what quantity they pleased, not only for their own use, but
likewise for sale. Then they might raise very plentiful orchards, of both
peaches and apples, which contribute as much as any fruit to the luxury of
life. There is no soil or climate will yield better rice than this, which is a
grain of prodigious increase, and of very wholesome nourishment. In short every
thing will grow plentifully here to supply either the wants or wantonness of
man. Nor can I so much as wish that the more tender vegetables might grow here,
such as orange, lemon, and olive trees, because then we should lose the much
greater benefit of the brisk north-west winds, which purge the air, and sweep
away all the malignant fevers, which hover over countries that are always warm.
The soil would also want the advantages of frost, and snow, which by their
nitrous particles contribute not a little to its fertility. Besides the
inhabitants would be deprived of the variety and sweet vicissitude of the
season, which is much more delightful than one dull and constant succession of
warm weather, diversified only by rain and sunshine. There is also another
convenience, that happens to this country by cold weather–it destroys a
great number of snakes, and other venomous reptiles, and troublesome insects,
or at least lays them to sleep for several months, which otherwise would annoy
us the whole year round, and multiply beyond all enduring. Though oranges and
lemons are desirable fruits, and useful enough in many cases, yet, when the
want of them is supplied by others more useful, we have no cause to complain.
There is no climate that produces every thing, since the deluge wrenched the
poles of the world out of their place, nor is it fit it should be so, because
it is the mutual supply one country receives from another, which creates a
mutual traffic and intercourse amongst men. And in truth, were it not for the
correspondence, in order to make up each other’s wants, the wars betwixt
bordering nations, like those of the Indians and other barbarous people, would
be perpetual and irreconcileable. As to olive trees, I know by experience they
will never stand the sharpness of our winters, but their place may be supplied
by the plant called sessamun, which yields an infinite quantity of large seed,
from whence a sweet oil is pressed, that is very wholesome and in use amongst
the people of Lesser Asia. Likewise it is used in Egypt, preferably to oil
olive, being not so apt to make those that eat it constantly break out into
scabs, as they do in many parts of Italy. This would grow very kindly here, and
has already been planted with good success in North Carolina, by way of

7th. After crossing the Dan, we made a march of
eight miles, over hills and dales as far as the next ford of that river. And
now we were by practice become such very able footmen, that we easily outwalked
our horses, and could have marched much farther, had it not been in pity to
their weakness. Besides here was plenty of canes, which was reason enough to
make us shorten our journey. Our gunners did great execution as they went
along, killing no less than two brace of deer, and as many wild turkeys. Though
practice will soon make a man of tolerable vigour an able footman, yet, as a
help to bear fatigue I used to chew a root of ginseng as I walked along. This
kept up my spirits, and made me trip away as nimbly in my half jack-boots as
younger men could do in their shoes. This plant is in high esteem in China,
where it sells for its weight in silver. Indeed it does not grow there, but in
the mountains of Tartary, to which place the emperor of China sends ten
thousand men every year on purpose to gather it. But it grows so scattering
there, that even so many hands can bring home no great quantity. Indeed it is a
vegetable of so many virtues, that Providence has planted it very thin in every
country that has the happiness to produce it. Nor indeed is mankind worthy of
so great a blessing, since health and long life are commonly abused to ill
purposes. This noble plant grows likewise at the cape of Good Hope, where it is
called kanna, and is in wonderful esteem among the Hottentots. It grows also on
the northern continent of America, near the mountains, but as sparingly as
truth and public spirit. It answers exactly both to the figure and virtues of
that which grows in Tartary, so that there can be no doubt of its being the
same. Its virtues are, that it gives an uncommon warmth and vigour to the
blood, and frisks the spirits, beyond any other cordial. It cheers the heart
even of a man that has a bad wife, and makes him look down with great composure
on the crosses of the world. It promotes insensible perspiration, dissolves all
phlegmatic and viscous humours, that are apt to obstruct the narrow channels of
the nerves. It helps the memory, and would quicken even Helvetian dulness. It
is friendly to the lungs, much more than scolding itself. It comforts the
stomach, and strengthens the bowels, preventing all colics and fluxes. In one
word, it will make a man live a great while, and very well while he does live.
And what is more, it will even make old age amiable, by rendering it lively,
cheerful, and good-humoured. However it is of little use in the feats of love,
as a great prince once found, who hearing of its invigorating quality, sent as
far as China for some of it, though his ladies could not boast of any advantage

We gave the Indian the skins of all the deer that he
shot himself, and the men the skins of what they killed. And every evening
after the fires were made, they stretched them very tight upon sticks, and
dried them. This, by a nocturnal fire, appeared at first a very odd spectacle,
every thing being dark and gloomy round about. After they are dried in this
manner they may be folded up without damage, till they come to be dressed
according to art. The Indians dress them with deer’s brains, and so do the
English here by their example. For expedition’s sake they often stretch their
skins over smoke in order to dry them, which makes them smell so disagreeably
that a rat must have a good stomach to gnaw them in that condition; nay, it is
said, while that perfume continues in a pair of leather breeches, the person
that wears them will be in no danger of that villanous little insect the French
call morpion. And now I am upon the subject of insects, it may not be improper
to mention some few remedies against those that are most vexatious in this
climate. There are two sorts without doors, that are great nuisances, the
ticks, and the horse flies. The ticks are either deer-ticks, or those that
annoy the cattle. The first kind are long, and take a very strong gripe, being
most in remote woods, above the inhabitants. The other are round, and more
gently insinuate themselves into the flesh, being in all places where cattle
are frequent. Both these sorts are apt to be troublesome during the warm
season, but have such an aversion to pennyroyal, that they will attack no part
that is rubbed with the juice of that fragrant vegetable. And a strong
decoction of this is likewise the most effectual remedy against seed-ticks,
which bury themselves in your legs, when they are so small you can hardly
discern them without a microscope.304.

The horse flies are not only
a great grievance to horses, but likewise to those that ride them. These little
vixens confine themselves chiefly to the woods, and are most in moist places.
Though this insect be no bigger than an ordinary fly, it bites very smartly,
darting its little proboscis into the skin the instant it lights upon it. These
are offensive only in the hot months, and in the day time, when they are a
great nuisance to travellers; insomuch that it is no wonder they were formerly
employed for one of the plagues of Egypt. But dittany, which is to be had in
the woods all the while those insects remain in vigor, is a sure defence
against them. For this purpose, if you stick a bunch of it on the head-stall of
your bridle, they will be sure to keep a respectful distance. Thus, in what
part of the woods soever any thing mischievous or troublesome is found, kind
Providence is sure to provide a remedy. And it is probably one great reason why
God was pleased to create these, and many other vexatious animals, that men
should exercise their wits and industry, to guard themselves against them.
Bears’ oil is used by the Indians as a general defence against every species of
vermin. Among the rest, they say it keeps both bugs and mosquitoes from
assaulting their persons, which would otherwise devour such uncleanly people.
Yet bears’ grease has no strong smell, as that plant had which the Egyptians
formerly used against mosquitoes, resembling our palma Christi, the juice of
which smelled so disagreeably, that the remedy was worse than the disease.
Against mosquitoes, in Egypt, the richer sort used to build lofty towers, with
bed-chambers in the tops of them, that they might rest undisturbed. It is
certain that these insects are no high fliers, because their wings are weak and
their bodies so light, that if they mount never so little, the wind blows them
quite away from their course, and they become an easy prey to the martins, East
India bats, and other birds that fly about in continual quest of them.305.

8th. As we had twice more to cross the Dan over two fords, that lay
no more than seven miles from each other, we judged the distance would not be
much greater to go round the bend of it. Accordingly we sent the Indian and two
white men that way, who came up with us in the evening, after fetching a
compass of about twelve miles. They told us that, about a mile from our last
camp, they passed a creek fortified with steep cliffs, which therefore gained
the name of Cliff creek. Near three miles beyond that they forded a second
creek, on the margin of which grew abundance of tall canes and this was called
Hix’s creek, from one of the discoverers. Between these two creeks lies a level
of exceeding rich land, full of large trees, and covered with black mould, as
fruitful, if we believe them, as that which is yearly overflowed by the Nile.
We who marched the nearest way upon the line found the ground rising and
falling between the two fords of the Dan, which almost broke our own wind, and
the hearts of our jaded palfreys. When we had passed the last ford, it was a
sensible joy to find ourselves safe over all the waters that might cut off our
retreat. And we had the greater reason to be thankful, because so late in the
year it was very unusual to find the rivers so fordable. We caught a large
terrapin in the river, which is one kind of turtle. The flesh of it is
wholesome, and good for consumptive people. It lays a great number of eggs, not
larger but rounder than those of pigeons. These are soft, but withal so tough
that it is difficult to break them, yet are very sweet and invigorating, so
that some wives recommend them earnestly to their husbands. One of the men, by
an overstrain, had unhappily got a running of the reins, for which I gave him
every morning a little sweet gum dissolved in water, with good success. This
gum distils from a large tree, called the sweet-gum tree, very common in
Virginia, and is as healing in its virtue as balm of Gilead, or the balsams of
Tolu and of Peru. It is likewise a most agreeable perfume, very little inferior
to ambergris. And now I have mentioned ambergris, I hope it will not be thought
an unprofitable digression, to give a faithful account how it is produced, in
order to reconcile the various opinions concerning it. It is now certainly
found to be the dung of the spermaceti whale, which is at first very black and
unsavoury. But after having been washed for some months in the sea, and
blanched in the sun, it comes at length to be of a gray colour, and from a most
offensive smell, contracts the finest fragrancy in the world. Besides the
fragrancy of this animal substance, it is a very rich and innocent cordial,
which raises the spirits without stupifying them afterwards, like opium, or
intoxicating them like wine. The animal spirits are amazingly refreshed by this
cordial, without the danger of any ill consequence, and if husbands were now
and then to dissolve a little of it in their broth, their consorts might be the
better for it, as well as themselves. In the Bahama islands (where a great
quantity is found, by reason the spermaceti whales resort thither continually,)
it is used as an antidote against the venomous fish which abound thereabouts,
wherewith the people are apt to poison themselves. We are not only obliged to
that whale for this rich perfume, but also for the spermaceti itself, which is
the fat of that fish’s head boiled and purged from all its impurities. What
remains is of a balsamic and detersive quality, very friendly to the lungs, and
useful in many other cases.306.

The Indian had killed a fat doe in
the compass he took round the elbow of the river, but was content to prime it
only, by reason it was too far off to lug the whole carcass upon his back.
This, and a brace of wild turkeys which our men had shot, made up all our bill
of fare this evening, but could only afford a philosophical meal to so many
craving stomachs. The horses were now so lean that any thing would gall those
that carried the least burthen; no wonder then if several of them had sore
backs, especially now the pads of the saddles and packs were pressed flat with
long and constant use. This would have been another misfortune, had we not been
provided with an easy remedy for it. One of the commissioners, believing that
such accidents might happen in a far journey, had furnished himself with
plasters of strong glue spread pretty thick. We laid on these, after making
them running hot, which, sticking fast, never fell off till the sore was
perfectly healed. In the mean time it defended the part so well, that the
saddle might bear upon it without danger of further injury.307.

We reckoned ourselves now pretty well out of the latitude of bears, to the
great grief of most of the company. There was still mast enough left in the
woods to keep the bears from drawing so near to the inhabitants. They like not
the neighbourhood of merciless man, till famine compels them to it. They are
all black in this part of the world, and so is their dung, but it will make
linen white, being tolerably good soap, without any preparation but only
drying. These bears are of a moderate size, whereas within the polar circles
they are white, and much larger. Those of the southern parts of Muscovy are of
a russet colour, but among the Samoeids, as well as in Greenland and
Nova-Zembla, they are as white as the snow they converse with, and by some
accounts are as large as a moderate ox. The excessive cold of that climate sets
their appetites so sharp, that they will attack a man without ceremony, and
even climb up a ship’s side to come at him. They range about and are very
mischievous all the time the sun is above the horizon, which is something more
than five months; but after the sun is set for the rest of the year, they
retire into holes, or bury themselves under the snow, and sleep away the dark
season without any sustenance at all. It is pity our beggars and pick-pockets
could not do the same.308.

Our journey this day was above twelve
miles, and more than half the way terribly hampered with bushes. We tired
another horse, which we were obliged to leave two miles short of where we
encamped, and indeed several others were upon the careen almost every step. Now
we wanted one of those celebrated musicians of antiquity, who, they tell us,
among many other wonders of their art, could play an air which, by its
animating briskness, would make a jaded horse caper and curyet much better than
any whip, spur, or even than swearing. Though I fear our poor beasts were so
harassed that it would have been beyond the skill of Orpheus himself so much as
to make them prick up their ears. For proof of the marvellous power of music
among the ancients, some historians say, that one of those skilful masters took
upon him to make the great Alexander start up from his seat, and handle his
javelin, whether he would or not, by the force of a sprightly tune, which he
knew how to play to him. The king ordered the man to bring his instrument, and
then fixing himself firmly in his chair, and determining not to stir, he bade
him strike up as soon as he pleased. The musician obeyed, and presently roused
the hero’s spirits with such warlike notes, that he was constrained, in spite
of all his resolution, to spring up and fly to his javelin with great martial
fury. We can the easier credit these profane stories by what we find recorded
in the oracles of truth, where we are told the wonders David performed by
sweetly touching his harp. He made nothing of driving the evil spirit out of
Saul, though a certain rabbi assures us he could not do so much by his wife,
Michal, when she happened to be in her airs. The greatest instance we have of
the power of modern music is that which cures those who in Italy are bitten by
the little spider called the tarantula. The whole method of which is performed
in the following manner. In Apulia it is a common misfortune for people to be
bitten by the tarantula, and most about Taranto and Gallipoli. This is a gray
spider, not very large, with a narrow streak of white along the back. It is no
wonder there are many of these villanous insects, because, by a ridiculous
superstition it is accounted great inhumanity to kill them. They believe, it
seems, that if the spider come to a violent death, all those who had been
bitten by it will certainly have a return of their frenzy every year as long as
they live. But if it die a natural death, the patient will have a chance to
recover in two or three years. The bite of the tarantula gives no more pain
than the bite of a mosquito, and makes little or no inflammation on the part,
especially when the disaster happens in April or May; but, its venom increasing
with the heat of the season, has more fatal consequences in July and August.
The persons who are so unhappy as to be bitten in those warm months, fall down
on the place in a few minutes, and lie senseless for a considerable time, and
when they come to themselves feel horrible pains, are very sick at their
stomachs, and in a short time break out into foul sores; but those who are
bitten in the milder months have much gentler symptoms. They are longer before
the distemper shows itself, and then they have a small disorder in their
senses, are a little sick, and perhaps have some moderate breakings-out.
However, in both cases, the patient keeps upon the bed, not caring to stir,
till he is roused by a tune, proper for his particular case. Therefore, as soon
as the symptoms discover themselves, a tarantula doctor is sent for, who, after
viewing carefully the condition of the person, first tries one tune and then
another, until he is so fortunate as to hit the phrenetic turn of the patient.
No sooner does this happen but he begins to wag a finger, then a hand, and
afterwards a foot, till at last he springs up and dances round the room, with a
surprising agility, rolling his eyes and looking wild the whole time. This
dancing-fit lasts commonly about twenty-five minutes, by which time he will be
all in a lather. Then he sits down, falls a laughing, and returns to his
senses. So plentiful a perspiration discharges so much of the venom as will
keep off the return of the distemper for a whole year. Then it will visit him
again, and must be removed in the same merry manner. But three dancing bouts
will do the business, unless, peradventure, the spider, according to the vulgar
notion, has been put to a violent death. The tunes played to expel this
whimsical disorder, are of the jig kind, and exceed not fifteen in number. The
Apulians are frequently dancing off the effects of this poison, and no remedy
is more commonly applied to any other distemper elsewhere, than those sprightly
tunes are to the bite of the tarantula in that part of Italy. It is remarkable
that these spiders have a greater spite to the natives of the place than they
have to strangers, and women are oftener bitten than men. Though there may be a
reason for the last, because women are more confined to the house, where these
spiders keep, and their coats make them liable to attacks unseen, whereas the
men can more easily discover, and brush them off their legs. Nevertheless, both
sexes are cured the same way, and thereby show the wonderful effects of

Considering how far we had walked, and consequently how
hungry we were, we found but short commons when we came to our quarters. One
brace of turkeys was all the game we could meet with, which almost needed a
miracle to enable them to suffice so many voracious appetites. However, they
just made a shift to keep famine, and consequently mutiny, out of the camp. At
night we lodged upon the banks of Buffalo creek, where none of us could
complain of loss of rest, for having eaten too heavy and luxurious a

10th. In a dearth of provisions our chaplain pronounced
it lawful to make bold with the sabbath, and send a party out a-hunting. They
fired the dry leaves in a ring of five miles’ circumference, which, burning
inwards, drove all the game to the centre, where they were easily killed. It is
really a pitiful sight to see the extreme distress the poor deer are in, when
they find themselves surrounded with this circle of fire; they weep and groan
like a human creature, yet cannot move the compassion of those hard-hearted
people, who are about to murder them. This unmerciful sport is called fire
hunting, and is much practised by the Indians and frontier inhabitants, who
sometimes, in the eagerness of their diversion, are punished for their cruelty,
and are hurt by one another when they shoot across at the deer which are in the
middle. What the Indians do now by a circle of fire, the ancient Persians
performed formerly by a circle of men: and the same is practised at this day in
Germany upon extraordinary occasions, when any of the princes of the empire
have a mind to make a general hunt, as they call it. At such times they order a
vast number of people to surround a whole territory. Then marching inwards in
close order, they at last force all the wild beasts into a narrow compass, that
the prince and his company may have the diversion of slaughtering as many as
they please with their own hands. Our hunters massacred two brace of deer after
this unfair way, of which they brought us one brace whole, and only the
primings of the rest.311.

So many were absent on this occasion, that
we who remained excused the chaplain from the trouble of spending his spirits
by preaching to so thin a congregation. One of the men, who had been an old
Indian trader, brought me a stem of silk grass, which was about as big as my
little finger. But, being so late in the year that the leaf was fallen off, I
am not able to describe the plant. The Indians use it in all their little
manufactures, twisting a thread of it that is prodigiously strong. Of this they
make their baskets and the aprons which their women wear about their middles,
for decency’s sake. These are long enough to wrap quite round them and reach
down to their knees, with a fringe on the under part by way of ornament. They
put on this modest covering with so much art, that the most impertinent
curiosity cannot in the negligentest of their motions or postures make the
least discovery. As this species of silk grass is much stronger than hemp, I
make no doubt but sail cloth and cordage might be made of it with considerable

11th. We had all been so refreshed by our day of
rest, that we decamped earlier than ordinary, and passed the several fords of
Hico river. The woods were thick great part of this day’s journey, so that we
were forced to scuffle hard to advance seven miles, being equal in fatigue to
double that distance of clear and open grounds. We took up our quarters upon
Sugar-tree creek, in the same camp we had lain in when we came up, and happened
to be entertained at supper with a rarity we had never had the fortune to meet
with before, during the whole expedition. A little wide of this creek, one of
the men had the luck to meet with a young buffalo of two years old. It was a
bull, which, notwithstanding he was no older, was as big as an ordinary ox. His
legs were very thick and very short, and his hoofs exceeding broad. His back
rose into a kind of bunch a little above the shoulders, which I believe
contributes not a little to that creature’s enormous strength. His body is
vastly deep from the shoulders to the brisket, sometimes six feet in those that
are full grown. The portly figure of this animal is disgraced by a shabby
little tail, not above twelve inches long. This he cocks up on end whenever he
is in a passion, and, instead of lowing or bellowing, grunts with no better
grace than a hog. The hair growing on his head and neck is long and shagged,
and so soft that it will spin into thread not unlike mohair, which might be
wove into a sort of camlet. Some people have stockings knit of it, that would
have served an Israelite during his forty years’ march through the wilderness.
Its horns are short and strong, of which the Indians make large spoons, which
they say will split and fall to pieces whenever poison is put into them. Its
colour is a dirty brown, and its hide so thick that it is scarce penetrable.
However, it makes very spongy sole leather by the ordinary method of tanning,
though this fault might by good contrivance be mended. As thick as this poor
beast’s hide was, a bullet made shift to enter it and fetch him down. It was
found all alone, though buffaloes seldom are. They usually range about in
herds, like other cattle, and, though they differ something in figure, are
certainly of the same species. There are two reasons for this opinion: the
flesh of both has exactly the same taste, and the mixed breed betwixt both,
they say, will generate. All the difference I could perceive between the flesh
of buffalo and common beef was, that the flesh of the first was much yellower
than that of the other, and the lean something tougher. The men were so
delighted with this new diet, that the gridiron and frying-pan had no more rest
all night, than a poor husband subject to curtain lectures. Buffaloes may be
easily tamed when they are taken young. The best way to catch them is to carry
a milch mare into the woods, and when you find a cow and calf, to kill the cow,
and then having caught the calf, to suckle it upon the mare. After once or
twice sucking her, it will follow her home, and become as gentle as another
calf. If we could get into a breed of them, they might be made very useful, not
only for the dairy, by giving an ocean of milk, but also for drawing vast and
cumbersome weights by their prodigious strength. These, with the other
advantages I mentioned before, would make this sort of cattle more profitable
to the owner, than any other we are acquainted with, though they would need a
world of provender.313.

12th. Before we marched this morning, every
man took care to pack up some buffalo steaks in his wallet, besides what he
crammed into his belly. When provisions were plenty, we always found it
difficult to get out early, being too much embarrassed with a long-winded
breakfast. However, by the strength of our beef, we made a shift to walk about
twelve miles, crossing Blue-wing and Tewaw-homini creeks. And because this last
stream received its appellation from the disaster of a Tuscarora Indian, it
will not be straggling much out of the way to say something of that particular

These Indians were heretofore very numerous and
powerful, making, within time of memory, at least a thousand fighting men.
Their habitation, before the war with Carolina, was on the north branch of
Neuse river, commonly called Connecta creek, in a pleasant and fruitful
country. But now the few that are left of that nation live on the north side of
Moratuck, which is all that part of Roanoke below the great falls, towards
Albemarle sound. Formerly there were seven towns of these savages, lying not
far from each other, but now their number is greatly reduced. The trade they
have had the misfortune to drive with the English has furnished them constantly
with rum, which they have used so immoderately, that, what with the distempers,
and what with the quarrels it begat amongst them, it has proved a double
destruction. But the greatest consumption of these savages happened by the war
about twenty-five years ago, on account of some injustice the inhabitants of
that province had done them about their lands. It was on that provocation they
resented their wrongs a little too severely upon Mr. Lawson, who, under colour
of being surveyor general, had encroached too much upon their territories, at
which they were so enraged, that they waylaid him, and cut his throat from ear
to ear, but at the same time released the baron de Graffenried, whom they had
seized for company, because it appeared plainly he had done them no wrong. This
blow was followed by some other bloody actions on the part of the Indians,
which brought on the war, wherein many of them were cut off, and many were
obliged to flee for refuge to the Senecas, so that now there remain so few,
that they are in danger of being quite exterminated by the Catawbas, their
mortal enemies. These Indians have a very odd tradition amongst them, that many
years ago, their nation was grown so dishonest, that no man could keep any of
his goods, or so much as his loving wife to himself. That, however, their God,
being unwilling to root them out for their crimes, did them the honour to send
a messenger from heaven to instruct them, and set them a perfect example of
integrity and kind behavior towards one another. But this holy person, with all
his eloquence and sanctity of life, was able to make very little reformation
amongst them. Some few old men did listen a little to his wholesome advice, but
all the young fellows were quite incorrigible. They not only neglected his
precepts, but derided and evil entreated his person. At last, taking upon him
to reprove some young rakes of the Conechta clan very sharply for their
impiety, they were so provoked at the freedom of his rebukes, that they tied
him to a tree, and shot him with arrows through the heart. But their God took
instant vengeance on all who had a hand in that monstrous act, by lightning
from heaven, and has ever since visited their nation with a continued train of
calamities, nor will he ever leave off punishing, and wasting their people,
till he shall have blotted every living soul of them out of the world.315.

Our hunters shot nothing this whole day but a straggling bear, which
happened to fall by the hand of the very person who had been lately disarmed
and put to flight, for which he declared war against the whole species.316.

13th. We pursued our journey with all diligence, and forded
Ohimpamony creek about noon, and from thence proceeded to Yapatsco, which we
could not cross without difficulty. The beavers had dammed up the water much
higher than we found it at our going up, so that we were obliged to lay a
bridge over a part that was shallower than the rest, to facilitate our passage.
Beavers have more of instinct, that half-brother of reason, than any other
animal, especially in matters of self-preservation. In their houses they always
contrive a sally-port, both towards the land and towards the water, that so
they may escape by one, if their retreat should happen to be cut off at the
other. They perform all their works in the dead of night, to avoid discovery,
and are kept diligently to it by the master beaver, which by his age or
strength has gained to himself an authority over the rest. If any of the gang
happen to be lazy, or will not exert himself to the utmost in felling of trees,
or dragging them to the place where they are made use of, this superintendent
will not fail to chastise him with the flat of the tail, wherewith he is able
to give unmerciful strokes. They lie snug in their houses all day, unless some
unneighbourly miller chance to disturb their repose, by demolishing their dams
for supplying his mill with water. It is rare to see one of them, and the
Indians for that reason have hardly any way to take them, but by laying snares
near the place where they dam up the water. But the English hunters have found
out a more effectual method, by using the following receipt. Take the large
pride of the beaver, squeeze all the juice out of it, then take the small
pride, and squeeze out about five or six drops. Take the inside of sassafras
bark, powder it, and mix it with the liquor, and place this bait conveniently
for your steel trap. The story of their biting off their testicles to compound
for their lives, when they are pursued, is a story taken upon trust by Pliny,
like many others. Nor is it the beavers’ testicles that carry the perfume, but
they have a pair of glands just within the fundamental, as sweet as musk, that
perfume their dung, and communicate a strong scent to their testicles, by being
placed near them. It is true several creatures have strange instincts for their
preservation, as the Egyptian frog, we are told by Elian, will carry a whole
joint of a reed across its mouth, that it may not be swallowed by the ibis. And
this long-necked fowl will give itself a clyster with its beak, whenever it
finds itself too costive or feverish. The dogs of that country lap the water of
the Nile in a full trot, that they may not be snapped by the crocodiles. Both
beavers and wolves, we know, when one of their legs is caught in a steel trap,
will bite it off, that they may escape with the rest. The flesh of the beavers
is tough and dry, all but the tail, which, like the parrot’s tongue, was one of
the far-fetched rarities with which Heliogabalus used to furnish his luxurious
table. The fur of these creatures is very valuable, especially in the more
northern countries, where it is longer and finer. This the Dutch have lately
contrived to mix with their wool, and weave into a sort of drugget, that is not
only warm, but wonderfully light and soft. They also make gloves and stockings
of it, that keep out the cold almost as well as the fur itself, and do not look
quite so savage.317.

There is a deal of rich low ground on Yapatsco
creek, but I believe liable to be overflowed in a fresh. However, it might be
proper enough for rice, which receives but little injury from water. We
encamped on the banks of Massamony creek, after a journey of more than eleven
miles. By the way we shot a fat doe and a wild turkey, which fed us all
plentifully. And we have reason to say, by our own happy experience, that no
man need to despair of his daily bread in the woods, whose faith is but half so
large as his stomach.318.

14th. Being at length happily arrived
within twenty miles of the upper-most inhabitants, we despatched two men who
had the ablest horses to go before, and get a beef killed and some bread baked
to refresh their fellow travellers, upon their arrival. They had likewise
orders to hire an express to carry a letter to the governor, giving an account
that we were all returned in safety. This was the more necessary, because we
had been so long absent that many now began to fear we were, by this time,
scalped and barbacued by the Indians. We decamped with the rest of the people
about ten o’clock, and marched near twelve miles. In our way we crossed Nutbush
creek, and four miles farther we came upon a beautiful branch of Great creek,
where we took up our quarters. The tent was pitched upon an eminence, which
overlooked a wide piece of low grounds, covered with reeds and watered by a
crystal stream, gliding through the middle of it. On the other side of this
delightful valley, which was about half a mile wide, rose a hill that
terminated the view, and in the figure of a semicircle closed in upon the
opposite side of the valley. This had a most agreeable effect upon the eye, and
wanted nothing but cattle grazing in the meadow, and sheep and goats feeding on
the hill, to make it a complete rural landscape.319.

The Indian
killed a fawn, which, being upon its growth, was not fat, but made some amends
by being tender. He also shot an otter, but our people were now better fed than
to eat such coarse food. The truth of it is, the flesh of this creature has a
rank fishy taste, and for that reason might be a proper regale for the
Samoeids, who drink the czar of Muscovy’s health and toast their mistresses in
a bumper of train oil. The Carthusians, to save their vow of eating no flesh,
pronounce this amphibious animal to be a fish, and feed upon it as such,
without wounding their consciences. The skin of the otter is very soft, and the
Swedes make caps and socks of it, not only for warmth, but also because they
fancy it strengthens the nerves, and is good against all distempers of the
brain. The otter is a great devourer of fish, which are its natural food, and
whenever it betakes itself to a vegetable diet, it is as some high-spirited
wives obey their husbands, by pure necessity. They dive after their prey,
though they cannot continue long under water, but thrust their noses up to the
surface now and then for breath. They are great enemies to weirs set up in the
rivers to catch fish, devouring or biting to pieces all they find there. Nor is
it either easy to fright them from this kind of robbery, or to destroy them.
The best way I could ever find was to float an old wheel just by the weir, and
so soon as the otter has taken a large fish, he will get upon the wheel to eat
it more at his ease, which may give you an opportunity of firing upon him from
the shore. One of our people shot a large gray squirrel with a very bushy tail,
a singular use of which our merry Indian discovered to us. He said whenever
this little animal has occasion to cross a run of water, he launches a chip or
piece of bark into the water, on which he embarks, and, holding up his tail to
the wind, sails over very safely. If this be true, it is probable men learned
at first the use of sails from these ingenious little animals, as the
Hottentots learned the physical use of most of their plants from the

15th. About three miles from our camp we passed Great
creek, and then, after traversing very barren grounds for five miles together,
we crossed the Trading Path, and soon after had the pleasure of reaching the
uppermost inhabitant. This was a plantation belonging to colonel Mumford, where
our men almost burst themselves with potatoes and milk. Yet as great a
curiosity as a house was to us foresters, still we chose to lie in the tent, as
being much the cleanlier and sweeter lodging.321.

The Trading Path
above-mentioned receives its name from being the route the traders take with
their caravans, when they go to traffic with the Catawbas and other southern
Indians. The Catawbas live about two hundred and fifty miles beyond Roanoke
river, and yet our traders find their account in transporting goods from
Virginia to trade with them at their own town. The common method of carrying on
this Indian commerce is as follows: Gentlemen send for goods proper for such a
trade from England, and then either venture them out at their own risk to the
Indian towns, or else credit some traders with them of substance and
reputation, to be paid in skins at a certain price agreed betwixt them. The
goods for the Indian trade consist chiefly in guns, powder, shot, hatchets,
(which the Indians call tomahawks,) kettles, red and blue planes, Duffields,
Stroudwater blankets, and some cutlery wares, brass rings and other trinkets.
These wares are made up into packs and carried upon horses, each load being
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds, with which they are able to
travel about twenty miles a day, if forage happen to be plentiful. Formerly a
hundred horses have been employed in one of these Indian caravans, under the
conduct of fifteen or sixteen persons only, but now the trade is much impaired,
insomuch that they seldom go with half that number. The course from Roanoke to
the Catawbas is laid down nearest south-west, and lies through a fine country,
that is watered by several beautiful rivers. Those of the greatest note are,
first, Tar river, which is the upper part of Pamptico, Flat river, Little river
and Eno river, all three branches of Neuse. Between Eno and Saxapahaw rivers
are the Haw old fields, which have the reputation of containing the most
fertile high land in this part of the world, lying in a body of about fifty
thousand acres. This Saxapahaw is the upper part of Cape Fair river, the falls
of which lie many miles below the Trading Path. Some mountains overlook this
rich spot of land, from whence all the soil washes down into the plain, and is
the cause of its exceeding fertility. Not far from thence the path crosses
Aramanchy river, a branch of Saxapahaw, and about forty miles beyond that, Deep
river, which is the north branch of Peedee. Then forty miles beyond that, the
path intersects the Yadkin, which is there half a mile over, and is supposed to
be the south branch of the same Peedee. The soil is exceedingly rich on both
sides the Yadkin, abounding in rank grass and prodigiously large trees; and for
plenty of fish, fowl and venison, is inferior to no part of the northern
continent. There the traders commonly lie still for some days, to recruit their
horses’ flesh as well as to recover their own spirits. Six miles further is
Crane creek, so named from its being the rendezvous of great armies of cranes,
which wage a more cruel war at this day, with the frogs and the fish, than they
used to do with the pigmies in the days of Homer. About three-score miles more
bring you to the first town of the Catawbas, called Nauvasa, situated on the
banks of Santee river. Besides this town there are five others belonging to the
same nation, lying all on the same stream, within the distance of twenty miles.
These Indians were all called formerly by the general name of the Usherees, and
were a very numerous and powerful people. But the frequent slaughters made upon
them by the northern Indians, and, what has been still more destructive by far,
the intemperance and foul distempers introduced amongst them by the Carolina
traders, have now reduced their numbers to little more than four hundred
fighting men, besides women and children. It is a charming place where they
live, the air very wholesome, the soil fertile, and the winters ever mild and

In Santee river, as in several others of Carolina, a
small kind of alligator is frequently seen, which perfumes the water with a
musky smell. They seldom exceed eight feet in length in these parts, whereas,
near the equinoctial, they come up to twelve or fourteen. And the heat of the
climate does not only make them bigger, but more fierce and voracious. They
watch the cattle there when they come to drink and cool themselves in the
river; and because they are not able to drag them into the deep water, they
make up by stratagem what they want in force. They swallow great stones, the
weight of which being added to their strength, enables them to tug a moderate
cow under water, and as soon as they have drowned her, they discharge the
stones out of their maw and then feast upon the carcass. However, as fierce and
as strong as these monsters are, the Indians will surprise them napping as they
float upon the surface, get astride upon their necks, then whip a short piece
of wood like a truncheon into their jaws, and holding the ends with their two
hands, hinder them from diving by keeping their mouths open, and when they are
almost spent, they will make to the shore, where their riders knock them on the
head and eat them. This amphibious animal is a smaller kind of crocodile,
having the same shape exactly, only the crocodile of the Nile is twice as long,
being when full grown from twenty to thirty feet. This enormous length is the
more to be wondered at, because the crocodile is hatched from an egg very
little larger than that of a goose. It has a long head, which it can open very
wide, with very sharp and strong teeth. Their eyes are small, their legs short,
with claws upon their feet. Their tail makes half the length of their body, and
the whole is guarded with hard impenetrable scales, except the belly, which is
much softer and smoother. They keep much upon the land in the day time, but
towards the evening retire into the water to avoid the cold dews of the night.
They run pretty fast right forward, but are very awkward and slow in turning,
by reason of their unwieldy length. It is an error that they have no tongue,
without which they could hardly swallow their food; but in eating they move the
upper jaw only, contrary to all other animals. The way of catching them in
Egypt is, with a strong hook fixed to the end of a chain and baited with a
joint of pork, which they are very fond of. But a live hog is generally tied
near, the cry of which allures them to the hook. This account of the crocodile
will agree in most particulars with the alligator, only the bigness of the last
cannot entitle it to the name of “leviathan,” which Job gave
formerly to the crocodile, and not to the whale, as some interpreters would
make us believe.323.

So soon as the Catawba Indians are informed of
the approach of the Virginia caravans, they send a detachment of their warriors
to bid them welcome, and escort them safe to their town, where they are
received with great marks of distinction. And their courtesies to the Virginia
traders, I dare say, are very sincere, because they sell them better goods and
better pennyworths than the traders of Carolina. They commonly reside among the
Indians till they have bartered their goods away for skins, with which they
load their horses and come back by the same path they went. There are generally
some Carolina traders that constantly live among the Catawbas, and pretend to
exercise a dictatorial authority over them. These petty rulers do not only
teach the honester savages all sorts of debauchery, but are unfair in their
dealings, and use them with all kinds of oppression. Nor has their behaviour
been at all better to the rest of the Indian nations, among whom they reside,
by abusing their women and evil-entreating their men; and, by the way, this was
the true reason of the fatal war which the nations round-about made upon
Carolina in the year 1713. Then it was that all the neighbouring Indians, grown
weary of the tyranny and injustice with which they had been abused for many
years, resolved to endure their bondage no longer, but entered into a general
confederacy against their oppressors of Carolina. The Indians opened the war by
knocking most of those little tyrants on the head that dwelt amongst them,
under pretence of regulating their commerce, and from thence carried their
resentment so far as to endanger both North and South Carolina.324.

16th. We gave orders that the horses should pass Roanoke river at
Monisep ford, while most of the baggage was transported in a canoe. We landed
at the plantation of Cornelius Keith, where I beheld the wretchedest scene of
poverty I had ever met with in this happy part of the world. The man, his wife
and six small children, lived in a pen, like so many cattle, without any roof
over their heads but that of heaven. And this was their airy residence in the
day time, but then there was a fodder stack not far from this inclosure, in
which the whole family sheltered themselves at night and in bad weather.
However, it was almost worth while to be as poor as this man was, to be as
perfectly contented. All his wants proceeded from indolence, and not from
misfortune. He had good land, as well as good health and good limbs to work it,
and, besides, had a trade very useful to all the inhabitants round about. He
could make and set up quern stones very well, and had proper materials for that
purpose just at hand, if he could have taken the pains to fetch them. There is
no other kind of mills in those remote parts, and, therefore, if the man would
have worked at his trade, he might have lived very comfortably. The poor woman
had a little more industry, and spun cotton enough to make a thin covering for
her own and her children’s nakedness. I am sorry to say it, but idleness is the
general character of the men in the southern parts of this colony as well as in
North Carolina. The air is so mild, and the soil so fruitful, that very little
labour is required to fill their bellies, especially where the woods afford
such plenty of game. These advantages discharge the men from the necessity of
killing themselves with work, and then for the other article of raiment, a very
little of that will suffice in so temperate a climate. But so much as is
absolutely necessary falls to the good women’s share to provide. They all spin,
weave and knit, whereby they make a good shift to clothe the whole family; and
to their credit be it recorded, many of them do it very completely, and thereby
reproach their husbands’ laziness in the most inoffensive way, that is to say,
by discovering a better spirit of industry in themselves.325.

hence we moved forward to colonel Mumford’s other plantation, under the care of
Miles Riley, where, by that gentleman’s directions, we were again supplied with
many good things. Here it was we discharged our worthy friend and fellow
traveller, Mr. Bearskin, who had so plentifully supplied us with provisions
during our long expedition. We rewarded him to his heart’s content, so that he
returned to his town loaded with riches and the reputation of having been a
great discoverer.326.

17th. This being Sunday, we were seasonably
put in mind how much we were obliged to be thankful for our happy return to the
inhabitants. Indeed, we had great reason to reflect with gratitude on the
signal mercies we had received. First, that we had, day by day, been fed by the
bountiful hand of Providence in the desolate wilderness, insomuch that if any
of our people wanted one single meal during the whole expedition, it was
entirely owing to their own imprudent management. Secondly, that not one man of
our whole company had any violent distemper or bad accident befall him, from
one end of the line to the other. The very worst that happened was, that one of
them gave himself a smart cut on the pan of his knee with a tomahawk, which we
had the good fortune to cure in a short time, without the help of a surgeon. As
for the misadventures of sticking in the mire and falling into rivers and
creeks, they were rather subjects of mirth than complaint, and served only to
diversify our travels with a little farcical variety. And, lastly, that many
uncommon incidents have concurred to prosper our undertaking. We had not only a
dry spring before we went out, but the preceding winter, and even a year or two
before, had been much drier than ordinary. This made not only the Dismal, but
likewise most of the sunken grounds near the sea-side, just hard enough to bear
us, which otherwise had been quite impassable. And the whole time we were upon
the business, which was in all about sixteen weeks, we were never caught in the
rain except once, nor was our progress interrupted by bad weather above three
or four days at most. Besides all this, we were surprised by no Indian enemy,
but all of us brought our scalps back safe upon our heads. This cruel method of
scalping of enemies is practised by all the savages in America, and perhaps is
not the least proof of their original from the northern inhabitants of Asia.
Among the ancient Scythians it was constantly used, who carried about these
hairy scalps as trophies of victory. They served them too as towels at home,
and trappings for their horses abroad. But these were not content with the skin
of their enemies’ heads, but also made use of their sculls for cups to drink
out of upon high festival days, and made greater ostentation of them than if
they had been made of gold or the purest crystal.327.

Besides the
duties of the day, we christened one of our men who had been bred a quaker. The
man desired this of his own mere motion, without being tampered with by the
parson, who was willing every one should go to heaven his own way. But whether
he did it by the conviction of his own reason, or to get rid of some
troublesome forms and restraints, to which the saints of that persuasion are
subject, I cannot positively say.328.

18th. We proceeded over a
level road twelve miles, as far as George Hixe’s plantation, on the south side
of Meherrin river, our course being for the most part north-east. By the way we
hired a cart to transport our baggage, that we might the better befriend our
jaded horses. Within two miles of our journey’s end this day, we met the
express we had sent the Saturday before to give notice of our arrival. He had
been almost as expeditious as a carrier pigeon, riding in two days no less than
two hundred miles.329.

All the grandees of the Sapponi nation did us
the honour to repair hither to meet us, and our worthy friend and fellow
traveller, Bearskin, appeared among the gravest of them in his robes of
ceremony. Four young ladies of the first quality came with them, who had more
the air of cleanliness than any copper-coloured beauties I had ever seen; yet
we resisted all their charms, notwithstanding the long fast we had kept from
the sex, and the bear diet we had been so long engaged in. Nor can I say the
price they set upon their charms was at all exorbitant. A princess for a pair
of red stockings cannot, surely, be thought buying repentance much too dear.
The men had something great and venerable in their countenances, beyond the
common mien of savages; and indeed they ever had the reputation of being the
honestest, as well as the bravest Indians we have ever been acquainted with.
This people is now made up of the remnants of several other nations, of which
the most considerable are the Sapponies, the Occaneches, and Stoukenhocks, who
not finding themselves separately numerous enough for their defence, have
agreed to unite into one body, and all of them now go under the name of the
Sapponies. Each of these was formerly a distinct nation, or rather a several
clan or canton of the same nation, speaking the same language, and using the
same customs. But their perpetual wars against all other Indians, in time,
reduced them so low as to make it necessary to join their forces together. They
dwelt formerly not far below the mountains, upon Yadkin river, about two
hundred miles west and by south from the falls of Roanoke. But about
twenty-five years ago they took refuge in Virginia, being no longer in
condition to make head not only against the northern Indians, who are their
implacable enemies, but also against most of those to the south. All the
nations round about, bearing in mind the havoc these Indians used formerly to
make among their ancestors in the insolence of their power, did at length
avenge it home upon them, and made them glad to apply to this government for
protection. Colonel Spotswood, our then lieutenant governor, having a good
opinion of their fidelity and courage, settled them at Christanna, ten miles
north of Roanoke, upon the belief that they would be a good barrier, on that
side of the country, against the incursion of all foreign Indians. And in
earnest they would have served well enough for that purpose, if the white
people in the neighbourhood had not debauched their morals, and ruined their
health with rum, which was the cause of many disorders, and ended at last in a
barbarous murder committed by one of these Indians when he was drunk, for which
the poor wretch was executed when he was sober. It was matter of great concern
to them, however, that one of their grandees should be put to so ignominious a
death. All Indians have as great an aversion to hanging as the Muscovites,
though perhaps not for the same cleanly reason: these last believing that the
soul of one that dies in this manner, being forced to sally out of the body at
the postern, must needs be defiled. The Sapponies took this execution so much
to heart, that they soon after quitted their settlement and removed in a body
to the Catawbas. The daughter of the Tetero king went away with the Sapponies,
but being the last of her nation, and fearing she should not be treated
according to her rank, poisoned herself, like an old Roman, with the root of
the trumpet plant. Her father died two years before, who was the most intrepid
Indian we have been acquainted with. He had made himself terrible to all other
Indians by his exploits, and had escaped so many dangers that he was esteemed
invulnerable. But at last he died of a pleurisy, the last man of his race and
nation, leaving only that unhappy daughter behind him, who would not long
survive him.330.

The most uncommon circumstance in this Indian visit
was, that they all came on horse-back, which was certainly intended for a piece
of state, because the distance was but three miles, and it is likely they had
walked on foot twice as far to catch their horses. The men rode more awkwardly
than any Dutch sailor, and the ladies bestrode their palfreys a la mode de
France, but were so bashful about it, that there was no persuading them to
mount till they were quite out of our sight. The French women used to ride
a-straddle, not so much to make them sit firmer in the saddle, as from the
hopes the same thing might peradventure befall them that once happened to the
nun of Orleans, who, escaping out of a nunnery, took post en cavalier, and in
ten miles’ hard riding had the good fortune to have all the tokens of a man
break out upon her. This piece of history ought to be the more credible,
because it leans upon much the same degree of proof as the tale of bishop
Burnet’s two Italian nuns, who, according to his lordship’s account, underwent
the same happy metamorphosis, probably by some other violent exercise.331.

19th. From hence we despatched the cart with our baggage under a
guard, and crossed Meherrin river, which was not thirty yards wide at that
place. By the help of fresh horses, that had been sent us, we now began to mend
our pace, which was also quickened by the strong inclinations we had to get
home. In the distance of five miles we forded Meherrin creek, which was very
near as broad as the river. About eight miles farther we came to Sturgeon
creek, so called from the dexterity an Occanechy Indian showed there in
catching one of those royal fish, which was performed after the following
manner. In the summer time it is no unusual thing for sturgeons to sleep on the
surface of the water, and one of them having wandered up into this creek in the
spring, was floating in that drowsy condition. The Indian, above-mentioned, ran
up to the neck into the creek a little below the place where he discovered the
fish, expecting the stream would soon bring his game down to him. He judged the
matter right, and as soon as it came within his reach, he whipped a running
noose over his jole. This waked the sturgeon, which being strong in its own
element darted immediately under water and dragged the Indian after him. The
man made it a point of honour to keep his hold, which he did to the apparent
danger of being drowned. Sometimes both the Indian and the fish disappeared for
a quarter of a minute, and then rose at some distance from where they dived. At
this rate they continued flouncing about, sometimes above and sometimes under
water, for a considerable time, till at last the hero suffocated his adversary,
and hauled his body ashore in triumph.332.

About six miles beyond
that, we passed over Wicco-quoi creek, named so from the multitude of rocks
over which the water tumbles, in a fresh, with a bellowing noise. Not far from
where we went over, is a rock much higher than the rest, that strikes the eye
with agreeable horror, and near it a very talkative echo, that, like a fluent
help-mate, will return her good man seven words for one, and after all be sure
to have the last. It speaks not only the language of men, but also of birds and
beasts, and often a single wild goose is cheated into the belief that some of
his company are not far off, by hearing his own cry multiplied; and it is
pleasant to see in what a flutter the poor bird is, when he finds himself
disappointed. On the banks of this creek are very broad low-grounds in many
places, and abundance of good high-land, though a little subject to floods.333.

We had but two miles more to captain Embry’s, where we found the
housekeeping much better than the house. Our bountiful landlady had set her
oven and all her spits, pots, gridirons and saucepans to work, to diversify our
entertainment, though after all it proved but a Mahometan feast, there being
nothing to drink but water. The worst of it was, we had unluckily outrode the
baggage, and for that reason were obliged to lodge very sociably in the same
apartment with the family, where, reckoning women and children, we mustered in
all no less than nine persons, who all pigged lovingly together.334.

20th. In the morning colonel Bolling, who had been surveying in the
neighbourhood, and Mr. Walker, who dwelt not far off, came to visit us; and the
last of these worthy gentlemen, fearing that our drinking so much water might
incline us to pleurisies, brought us a kind supply both of wine and cider. It
was noon before we could disengage ourselves from the courtesies of this place,
and then the two gentlemen above-mentioned were so good as to accompany us that
day’s journey, though they could by no means approve of our Lithuanian fashion
of dismounting now and then, in order to walk part of the way on foot. We
crossed Nottoway river not far from our landlord’s house, where it seemed to be
about twenty-five yards over. This river divides the county of Prince George
from that of Brunswick. We had not gone eight miles farther before our eyes
were blessed with the sight of Sapponi chapel, which was the first house of
prayer we had seen for more than two calendar months. About three miles beyond
that, we passed over Stony creek, where one of those that guarded the baggage
killed a polecat, upon which he made a comfortable repast. Those of his company
were so squeamish they could not be persuaded at first to taste, as they said,
of so unsavoury an animal; but seeing the man smack his lips with more pleasure
than usual, they ventured at last to be of his mess, and instead of finding the
flesh rank and high-tasted, they owned it to be the sweetest morsel they had
ever eaten in their lives. The ill savour of this little beast lies altogether
in its urine, which nature has made so detestably ill-scented on purpose to
furnish a helpless creature with something to defend itself. For as some brutes
have horns and hoofs, and others are armed with claws, teeth and tusks for
their defence; and as some spit a sort of poison at their adversaries, like the
paco; and others dart quills at their pursuers, like the porcupine; and as some
have no weapons to help themselves but their tongues, and others none but their
tails; so the poor polecat’s safety lies altogether in the irresistible stench
of its water; insomuch that when it finds itself in danger from an enemy, it
moistens its bushy tail plentifully with this liquid ammunition, and then, with
great fury, sprinkles it like a shower of rain full into the eyes of its
assailant, by which it gains time to make its escape. Nor is the polecat the
only animal that defends itself by a stink. At the cape of Good Hope is a
little beast, called a stinker, as big as a fox, and shaped like a ferret,
which being pursued has no way to save itself but by ejecting its wind and
excrements, and then such a stench ensues that none of its pursuers can
possibly stand it.335.

At the end of thirty good miles, we arrived
in the evening at colonel Bolling’s, where first, from a primitive course of
life, we began to relapse into luxury. This gentleman lives within hearing of
the falls of Appomattox river, which are very noisy whenever a flood happens to
roll a greater stream than ordinary over the rocks. The river is navigable for
small craft as high as the falls, and at some distance from thence fetches a
compass, and runs nearly parallel with James river almost as high as the
mountains. While the commissioners fared sumptuously here, the poor chaplain
and two surveyors; having stopped ten miles short at a poor planter’s house, in
pity to their horses, made a St. Anthony’s meal, that is, they supped upon the
pickings of what stuck in their teeth ever since breakfast. But to make them
amends, the good man laid them in his own bed, where they all three nestled
together in one cotton sheet and one of brown oznaburgs, made still something
browner by two months’ copious perspiration. But those worthy gentlemen were so
alert in the morning after their light supper, that they came up with us before
breakfast, and honestly paid their stomachs all they owed them.336.

21st. We made no more than a Sabbath day’s journey from this to the
next hospitable house, namely, that of our great benefactor, colonel Mumford.
We had already been much befriended by this gentleman, who, besides sending
orders to his overseers at Roanoke to let us want for nothing, had, in the
beginning of our business, been so kind as to recommend most of the men to us
who were the faithful partners of our fatigue. Although in most other
achievements those who command are apt take all the honour to themselves of
what perhaps was more owing to the vigour of those who were under them, yet I
must be more just, and allow these brave fellows their full share of credit for
the service we performed, and must declare, that it was in a great measure
owing to their spirit and indefatigable industry that we overcame many
obstacles in the course of our line, which till then had been esteemed
insurmountable. Nor must I at the same time omit to do justice to the
surveyors, and particularly to Mr. Mayo, who, besides an eminent degree of
skill, encountered the same hardships and underwent the same fatigue that the
forwardest of the men did, and that with as much cheerfulness as if pain had
been his pleasure, and difficulty his real diversion. Here we discharged the
few men we had left, who were all as ragged as the Gibeonite ambassadors,
though, at the same time, their rags were very honourable, by the service they
had so vigorously performed in making them so.337.

22d. A little
before noon we all took leave and dispersed to our several habitations, where
we were so happy as to find all our families well. This crowned all our other
blessings, and made our journey as prosperous as it had been painful. Thus
ended our second expedition, in which we extended the line within the shadow of
the Chariky mountains, where we were obliged to set up our pillars, like
Hercules, and return home. We had now, upon the whole, been out about sixteen
weeks, including going and returning, and had travelled at least six hundred
miles, and no small part of that distance on foot. Below, towards the seaside,
our course lay through marshes, swamps, and great waters; and above, over steep
hills, craggy rocks, and thickets, hardly penetrable. Notwithstanding this
variety of hardships, we may say, without vanity, that we faithfully obeyed the
king’s orders, and performed the business effectually, in which we had the
honour to be employed. Nor can we by any means reproach ourselves of having put
the crown to any exorbitant expense in this difficult affair, the whole charge,
from beginning to end, amounting to no more that one thousand pounds. But let
no one concerned in this painful expedition complain of the scantiness of his
pay, so long as his majesty has been graciously pleased to add to our reward
the honour of his royal approbation, and to declare, notwithstanding the
desertion of the Carolina commissioners, that the line by us run shall
hereafter stand as the true boundary betwixt the governments of Virginia and
North Carolina.338.

Names of the Men employed on the part
of Virginia to run the Line between that Colony and North Carolina.


    1. Peter Jones,

    2. Thomas Jones,
    3. Thomas Short,
    Robert Hix,
    5. John Evans,
    6. Stephen Evans,

    7. John Ellis,
    8. John Ellis, Jr.
    9. Thomas
    10. George Tilman,
    11. Charles
    12. George Hamilton,
    13. Robert Allen,

    14. Thomas Jones, Jr.
    15. James Petillo,

    16. Richard Smith,
    17. John Rice.


    Peter Jones,

    Thomas Jones,
    Thomas Short,
    John Evans,
    Stephen Evans,
    John Ellis, Jr.
    Thomas Wilson,

    George Tilman,
    Charles Kimbal,
    Thomas Jones, Jr.
    James Petillo,

    Richard Smith,
    Abraham Jones,
    William Pool,
    William Calvert,

    James Whitlock,
    Thomas Page.

Account of the Expense of running the Line between Virginia and
North Carolina.

    To the men’s wages in current money £277 10
    To sundry disbursements for provisions, and c. 174 01 6

    To paid the men for seven horses lost 44 0 0
    £495 11 6

    The sum of £495 11 6 current money reduced at 15 per cent.
    sterling amounts to £430 8 10
    To paid to colonel Byrd 142 5 7

    To paid to colonel Dandridge 142 5 7
    To paid Mr.
    Fitz-william 94 0 0
    To paid to the chaplain, Mr. Fountain 20 0 0

    To paid to Mr. William Mayo 75 0 0
    To paid to Mr.
    Alexander Irvin 75 0 0
    To paid for a tent and marquis 20 0 0

    £1000 0 0

This sum was
discharged by a warrant out of his majesty’s quitrents from the lands in
Virginia. .


To the foregoing
journal, containing the second charter to the proprietors of Carolina,
confirming and enlarging the first, and also several other acts to which it
refers. These are placed by themselves at the end of the book, that they may
not interrupt the thread of the story, and the reader will be more at liberty
whether he will please to read them or not, being something dry and

The second Charter granted by King Charles II. to
the Proprietors of Carolina.*

CHARLES, by the grace of God, and c.:; Whereas, by our letters
patent, bearing date the four and twentieth day of March, in the fifteenth year
of our reign, we were graciously pleased to grant unto our right trusty and
right well beloved cousin and counsellor, Edward, earl of Clarendon, our high
chancellor of England, our right trusty and right entirely beloved cousin and
counsellor, George, duke of Albemarle, master of our horse, our right trusty
and well beloved William, now earl of Craven, our right trusty and well beloved
counsellor, Anthony, lord Ashley, chancellor of our exchequer, our right trusty
and well beloved counsellor, sir George Carterett, knight and baronet, vice
chamberlain of our household, our right trusty and well beloved, sir John
Colleton, knight and baronet, and sir William Berkley, knight, all that
province, territory, or tract of ground, called Carolina, situate, lying and
being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the
island called Luke island, which lies in the southern Virginia seas, and within
six and thirty degrees of the northern latitude; and to the west as far as the
South seas; and so respectively as far as the river of Mathias, which bordereth
upon the coast of Florida, and within one and thirty degrees of the northern
latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the South seas aforesaid. Now
know ye, that, at the humble request of the said grantees in the aforesaid
letters patent named, and as a further mark of our especial favour towards
them, we are graciously pleased to enlarge our said grant unto them according
to the bounds and limits hereafter specified, and in favour to the pious and
noble purpose of the said Edward, earl of Clarendon, George, duke of Albemarle,
William, earl of Craven, John, lord Berkley, Anthony, lord Ashley, sir George
Carterett, sir John Colleton and sir William Berkley, we do give and grant to
them, their heirs and assigns, all that province, territory, or tract of
ground, situate, lying and being within our dominions of America aforesaid,
extending north and eastward as far as the north end of Coratuck river or
inlet, upon a straight westerly line to Wyanoke 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; and south and westward as far
as the degrees of twenty-nine inclusive northern latitude, and so west in a
direct line as far as the South seas; together with all and singular ports,
harbours, bays, rivers and inlets belonging unto the province or territory
aforesaid. And also, all the soil, lands, fields, woods, mountains, ferms,
lakes, rivers, bays and inlets, situate, or being within the bounds or limits
last before mentioned: with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales,
sturgeons, and all other royal fishes in the sea, bays, inlets, and rivers,
within the premises, and the fish therein taken; together with the royalty of
the sea, upon the coast within the limits aforesaid. And moreover, all veins,
mines and quarries, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems
and precious stones, and all other whatsoever; be it of stones, metals or any
other thing found or to be found within the province, territory, inlets and
limits aforesaid. * * * * 2.

At the Court of St. James,
the 1st day of March, 1710.–Present, the Queen’s most excellent majesty
in Council.

Upon reading this day at the board a
representation from the right honourable the lords commissioners for trade and
plantations, in the words following: In pursuance of your majesty’s pleasure,
commissioners have been appointed on the part of your majesty’s colony of
Virginia, as likewise on the part of the province of Carolina, for the settling
the bounds between those governments; and they have met several times for that
purpose, but have not agreed upon any one point thereof, by reason of the
trifling delays of the Carolina commissioners, and of the many difficulties by
them raised in relation to the proper observations and survey they were to
make. However, the commissioners for Virginia have delivered to your majesty’s
lieutenant governor of that colony an account of their proceedings, which
account has been under the consideration of your majesty’s council of Virginia,
and they have made a report thereon to the said lieutenant governor, who having
lately transmitted unto us a copy of that report, we take leave humbly to lay
the substance thereof before your majesty, which is as follows:3.

That the commissioners of Carolina are both of them persons engaged in interest
to obstruct the settling the boundaries between that province and the colony of
Virginia; for one of them has for several years been surveyor general of
Carolina, has acquired to himself great profit by surveying lands within the
controverted bounds, and has taken up several tracts of land in his own name,
and sold the same to others, for which he stands still obliged to obtain
patents from the government of Carolina. The other of them is at this time
surveyor general, and hath the same prospect of advantage by making future
surveys within the said bounds. That the behavior of the Carolina commissioners
has tended visibly to no other end than to protract and defeat the settling
this affair: and particularly Mr. Moseley has used so many shifts and excuses
to disappoint all conferences with the commissioners of Virginia, as plainly
show his aversion to proceed in a business that tends so manifestly to his
disadvantage. His prevaricating on this occasion has been so indiscreet and so
unguarded, as to be discovered in the presence of the lieutenant governor of
Virginia. He started so many objections to the powers granted to the
commissioners of that colony, with design to render their conferences
ineffectual, that his joint commissioner could hardly find an excuse for him.
And when the lieutenant governor had with much ado prevailed with the said Mr.
Moseley to appoint a time for meeting the commissioners of Virginia, and for
bringing the necessary instruments to take the latitude of the bounds in
dispute, which instruments he owned were ready in Carolina, he not only failed
to comply with his own appointment, but after the commissioners of Virginia had
made a journey to his house, and had attended him to the places proper for
observing the latitude, he would not take the trouble of carrying his own
instrument, but contented himself to find fault with the quadrant produced by
the Virginia commissioners, though that instrument had been approved by the
best mathematicians, and is of universal use. From all which it is evident how
little hopes there are of settling the boundaries above-mentioned, in concert
with the present commissioners for Carolina. That though the bounds of the
Carolina charter are in express words limited to Weyanoke creek, lying in or
about 36° 30′ of northern latitude, yet the commissioners for Carolina have not
by any of their evidences pretended to prove any such place as Weyanoke creek,
the amount of their evidence reaching no further than to prove which is
Weyanoke river, and even that is contradicted by affidavit taken on the part of
Virginia; by which affidavits it appears that, before the date of the Carolina
charter to this day, the place they pretend to be Weyanoke river was, and is
still, called Nottoway river. But supposing the same had been called Weyanoke
river, it can be nothing to their purpose, there being a great difference
between a river and a creek. Besides, in that country there are divers rivers
and creeks of the same name, as Potomac river, and Potomac creek, Rappahannock
river, and Rappahannock creek, and several others, though there are many miles’
distance between the mouths of these rivers and the mouths of these creeks. It
is also observable, that the witnesses on the part of Carolina are all very
ignorant persons, and most of them of ill fame and reputation, on which account
they had been forced to remove from Virginia to Carolina. Further, there
appeared to be many contradictions in their testimonies, whereas, on the other
hand, the witnesses to prove that the right to those lands is in the government
of Virginia are persons of good credit, their knowledge of the lands in
question is more ancient than any of the witnesses for Carolina, and their
evidence fully corroborated by the concurrent testimony of the tributary
Indians. And that right is farther confirmed by the observations lately taken
of the latitude in those parts, by which it is plain, that the creek proved to
be Weyanoke creek by the Virginia evidences, and sometimes called Wicocon,
answers best to the latitude described in the Carolina charter, for it lies in
thirty-six degrees, forty minutes, which is ten minutes to the northward of the
limits described in the Carolina grant, whereas Nottoway river, lies exactly in
the latitude of thirty-seven degrees, and can by no construction be supposed to
be the boundary described in their charter; so that upon the whole matter, if
the commissioners of Carolina had no other view than to clear the just right of
the proprietors, such undeniable demonstrations would be sufficient to convince
them; but the said commissioners give too much cause to suspect that they mix
their own private interest with the claim of the proprietors, and for that
reason endeavour to gain time in order to obtain grants for the land already
taken up, and also to secure the rest on this occasion, we take notice, that
they proceed to survey the land in dispute, notwithstanding the assurance given
by the government of Carolina to the contrary by their letter of the 17th of
June, 1707, to the government of Virginia, by which letter they promised that
no lands should be taken up within the controverted bounds till the same were

Whereupon we humbly propose, that the lords proprietors
be acquainted with the foregoing complaint of the trifling delays of their
commissioners, which delays it is reasonable to believe have proceeded from the
self-interest of those commissioners, and that therefore your majesty’s
pleasure be signified to the said lords proprietors, that by the first
opportunity they send orders to their governor or commander in chief of
Carolina for the time being, to issue forth a new commission, to the purport of
that lately issued, thereby constituting two other persons, not having any
personal interest in, or claim to, any of the land lying within the boundary,
in the room of Edward Moseley and John Lawson. The Carolina commissioners to be
appointed being strictly required to finish their survey, and to make a return
thereof in conjunction with the Virginia commissioners, within six months, to
be computed from the time, that due notice shall be given by your majesty’s
lieutenant governor of Virginia to the governor or commander in chief of
Carolina, of the time and place, which your majesty’s said lieutenant governor
shall appoint for the first meeting of the commissioners on one part and the
other. In order whereunto we humbly offer, that directions be sent to the said
lieutenant governor, to give such notice accordingly; and if after notice so
given, the Carolina commissioners shall refuse or neglect to join with those on
the part of Virginia, in making such survey, as likewise a return thereof
within the time before mentioned; that then and in such case the commissioners
on the part of Virginia be directed to draw up an account of the proper
observations and survey which they shall have made for ascertaining the bounds
between Virginia and Carolina, and to deliver the same in writing under their
hands and seals to the lieutenant governor and council of Virginia, to the end
the same may be laid before your majesty, for your majesty’s final
determination therein, within, with regard to the settling of those boundaries;
the lords proprietors having, by an instrument under their hands, submitted the
same to your majesty’s royal determination, which instrument, dated in March,
1708, is lying in this office.5.

And lastly, we humbly propose, that
your majesty’s further pleasure be signified to the said lords proprietors, and
in like manner to the lieutenant governor of Virginia, that no grants be passed
by either of those governments of any of the lands lying within the
controverted bounds, until such bounds shall be ascertained and settled as
aforesaid, whereby it may appear whether those lands do of right belong to your
majesty, or to the lords proprietors of Carolina. 6.

Her majesty in
council, approving of the said representation, is pleased to order, as it is
hereby ordered, that the right honourable the lords commissioners for trade and
plantations do signify her majesty’s pleasure herein to her majesty’s
lieutenant governor or commander in chief of Virginia for the time being, and
to all persons to whom it may belong, as is proposed by their lordships in the
said representation, and the right honourable the lords proprietors of Carolina
are to do what on their part does appertain. 7.


Proposals for determining the
Controversy relating to the bounds between the governments of Virginia and
North Carolina, most humbly offered for his Majesty’s royal approbation, and
for the consent of the right honourable the Lords Proprietors of

Forasmuch as the dispute between the said two
governments about their true limits continues still, notwithstanding the
several meetings of the commissioners, and all the proceedings of many years
past, in order to adjust that affair, and seeing no speedy determination is
likely to ensue, unless some medium be found out, in which both parties may
incline to acquiesce, wherefore both the underwritten governors having met, and
considered the prejudice both to the king and the lords proprietors’ interest,
by the continuance of this contest, and truly endeavouring a decision, which
they judge comes nearest the intention of royal charter granted to the lords
proprietors, do, with the advice and consent of their respective councils,
propose as follows. 8.

That from the mouth of Coratuck river or
inlet, and setting the compass on the north shore, thereof a due west line be
run and fairly marked, and if it happen to cut Chowan river, between the mouths
of Nottoway river and Wicocon creek, then shall the same direct course be
continued towards the mountains, and be ever deemed the sole dividing line
between Virginia and Carolina.9.

That if the said west line cuts
Chowan river to the southward of Wicocon creek, then from point of intersection
the bounds shall be allowed to continue up the middle of the said Chowan river
to the middle of the entrance into the said Wicocon creek, and from thence a
due west line shall divide the said two governments.10.

That if a
due west line shall be found to pass through islands or to cut out small slips
of land, which might much more conveniently be included in one province or the
other by natural water bounds, in such cases the persons appointed for running
the line shall have power to settle natural bounds, provided the commissioners
of both sides agree thereto, and that all such variations from the west line,
be particularly noted in the maps or plats, which they shall return, to be put
upon the records of both governments, all which is humbly submitted by11.


Order of the King and Council upon the foregoing proposals, at the Court
of St. James, the 26th day of March, 1729. Present, the King’s most excel- lent
majesty in Council.

Whereas it has been represented to his
majesty at the board, that for adjusting the disputes, which have subsisted for
many years past, between the colonies of Virginia and North Carolina,
concerning their true boundaries, the late governors of the said colonies did
some time since agree upon certain proposals for regulating the said boundaries
for the future, to which proposals the lords proprietors of Carolina have given
their assent; and whereas the said proposals were this day presented to his
majesty as proper for his royal approbation,12.

His majesty is
thereupon pleased, with the advice of his privy council, to approve of the said
proposals, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed, and to order, as it is hereby
ordered, that the governor or commander in chief of the colony of Virginia, do
settle the said boundaries, in conjunction with the governor of North Carolina,
agreeably to the said proposals. 13.


The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia’s Commission in
obedience to his Majesty’s Order.

George the Second, by the
grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith,
to our trusty and well beloved William Byrd, Richard Fitz-william, and William
Dandridge, Esqrs., members of our council of the colony and dominion of
Virginia, greeting: Whereas our late royal father of blessed memory was
graciously pleased, by order in his privy council, bearing date the 28th day of
March 1727, to approve of certain proposals agreed upon by Alexander Spotswood,
Esq. late lieutenant governor of Virginia, on the one part, and Charles Eden,
Esq. late governor of the province of North Carolina, for determining the
controversy relating to the bounds between the said two governments, and was
farther pleased to direct and order, that the said boundaries should be laid
out and settled agreeably to the said proposals. Know ye, therefore, that
reposing special trust and confidence in your ability and provident
circumspection, have assigned, constituted and appointed, and by these presents
do assign, constitute and appoint you and every of you jointly and severally,
our commissioners for and on behalf of our colony and dominion of Virginia, to
meet the commissioners appointed or to be appointed on the part of the province
of North Carolina, and in conjunction with them to cause a line or lines of
division to be run and marked, to divide the said two governments according to
the proposals above-mentioned, and the order of our late royal father, copies
of both which you will herewith receive. And we do further give and grant unto
you, and in case of the death or absence of any of you, such of you as shall be
present, full power and authority to treat and agree with the said
commissioners of the province of North Carolina on such rules and methods as
you shall judge most expedient for the adjusting and finally determining all
disputes or controversies which may arise, touching any islands or other small
slips of land which may happen to be intersected or cut off by the dividing
line aforesaid, and which may with more conveniency be included in the one
province or the other by natural water bounds, agreeably to the proposals
aforementioned, and generally to do and perform all matters and things
requisite for the final determination and settlement of the said boundaries,
according to the said proposals. And to the end our service herein may not be
disappointed through the refusal or delay of the commissioners for the province
of North Carolina, to act in conjunction with you in settling the boundaries
aforesaid, we do hereby give and grant unto you, or such of you as shall be
present at the time and place appointed for running the dividing line
aforesaid, full power and authority to cause the said line to be run and marked
out, conformable to the said proposals, having due regard to the doing equal
justice to us, and to the lords proprietors of Carolina, any refusal,
disagreement, or opposition of the said commissioners of North Carolina
notwithstanding. And in that case we do hereby require you to make a true
report of your proceedings to our lieutenant governor, or commander in chief of
Virginia, in order to be laid before us for our approbation, and final
determination herein. And in case any person or persons whatsoever shall
presume to disturb, molest or resist you, or any of the officers or persons by
your direction, in running the said line, and executing the powers herein given
you, we do by these presents give and grant unto you, or such of you as shall
be attending the service aforesaid, full power and authority by warrant under
your or any of your hands and seals, to order and command all and every the
militia officers in our counties of Princess Anne, Norfolk, Nansemond, and Isle
of Wight, or other the adjacent counties, together with the sheriff of each of
the said counties, or either of them, to raise the militia and posse of the
said several counties, for the removing all force and opposition, which shall
or may be made to you in the due execution of this our commission, and we do
hereby will and require, as well the officers of the militia, as all other our
officers and loving subjects within the said counties, and all others whom it
may concern, to be obedient, aiding and assisting unto you in all and singular
the premises. And we do in like manner command and require you, to cause fair
maps and descriptions of the said dividing line, and the remarkable places
through which it shall pass, to be made and returned to our lieutenant governor
or commander in chief of our said colony for the time being, in order to be
entered on record in the proper offices within our said colony. Provided that
you do not, by colour of this our commission, take upon you or determine any
private man’s property, in or to the lands which shall by the said dividing
line be included within the limits of Virginia, nor of any other matter or
thing that doth not relate immediately to the adjusting, settling, and final
determination of the boundary aforesaid, conformable to the proposals
hereinbefore mentioned, and not otherwise. In witness whereof we have caused
these presents to be made. Witness our trusty and well beloved William Gooch,
Esq. our lieutenant governor and commander in chief of our colony and dominion
of Virginia, under the seal of our said colony, at Williamsburg, the 14th day
of December, 1727, in the first year of our reign. 14.


The Governor of North Carolina’s
Commission in obedience to his Majesty’s Order.

Sir Richard
Everard, baronet, governor, captain general, admiral, and commander in chief of
the said province: To Christopher Gale, Esq. chief justice, John Lovick, Esq.,
secretary, Edward Moseley, Esq., surveyor general and William Little, Esq.,
attorney general, greeting: Whereas many disputes and differences have formerly
been between the inhabitants of this province and those of his majesty’s colony
of Virginia, concerning the boundaries and limits between the said two
governments, which having been duly considered by Charles Eden, Esq., late
governor of this province, and Alexander Spotswood, Esq., late governor of
Virginia, they agreed to certain proposals for determining the said
controversy, and humbly offered the same for his majesty’s royal approbation,
and the consent of the true and absolute lords proprietors of Carolina. And his
majesty having been pleased to signify his royal approbation of those proposals
(consented unto by the true and absolute lords proprietors of Carolina) and
given directions for adjusting and settling the boundaries as near as may be to
the said proposals:15.

I, therefore, reposing especial trust and
confidence in you, the said Christopher Gale, John Lovick, Edward Moseley and
William Little, to be commissioners, on the part of the true and absolute lords
proprietors, and that you in conjunction with such commissioners as shall be
nominated for Virginia, use your utmost endeavours, and take all necessary care
in adjusting and settling the said boundaries, by drawing such a distinct line
or lines of division between the said two provinces, as near as reasonable you
can to the proposals made by the two former governors, and the instructions
herewith given you. Given at the council chamber in Edenton, under my hand, and
the seal of the colony, the 21st day of February, anno Domini 1727, and in the
first year of the reign of our sovereign lord, king George the Second.16.


The Protest of the
Carolina Commissioners, against our proceeding on the Line without them.

We the underwritten commissioners for the government of North
Carolina, in conjunction with the commissioners on the part of Virginia, having
run the line for the division of the two colonies from Coratuck inlet, to the
south branch of Roanoke river; being in the whole about one hundred and seventy
miles, and near fifty miles without the inhabitants, being of opinion we had
run the line as far as would be requisite for a long time, judged the carrying
it farther would be a needless charge and trouble. And the grand debate which
had so long subsisted between the two governments, about Weyanoke river or
creek, being settled at our former meeting in the spring, when we were ready on
our parts to have gone with the line to the utmost inhabitants, which if it had
been done, the line at any time after might have been continued at an easy
expense by a surveyor on each side; and if at any time hereafter there should
be occasion to carry the line on further than we have now run it, which we
think will not be in an age or two, it may be done in the same easy manner,
without the great expense that now attends it. And on a conference of all the
commissioners, we have communicated our sentiments thereon, and declared our
opinion, that we had gone as far as the service required, and thought proper to
proceed no farther; to which it was answered by the commissioners for Virginia,
that they should not regard what we did, but if we desisted, they would proceed
without us. But we, conceiving by his majesty’s order in council they were
directed to act in conjunction with the commissioners appointed for Carolina,
and having accordingly run the line jointly so far, and exchanged plans,
thought they could not carry on the bounds singly; but that their proceedings
without us would be irregular and invalid, and that it would be no boundary,
and thought proper to enter our dissent thereto. Wherefore, for the reasons
aforesaid, in the name of his excellency the lord palatine, and the rest of the
true and absolute lords proprietors of Carolina, we do hereby dissent and
disallow of any farther proceeding with the bounds without our concurrence, and
pursuant to our instructions do give this our dissent in writing. 17.

J. LOVICK. October 7th, 1728.

The Answer of the Virginia Commissioners to the foregoing Protest.

Whereas, on the 7th of October last, a paper was delivered to us by
the commissioners of North Carolina, in the style of a protest, against our
carrying any farther, without them, the dividing line between the two
governments, we, the underwritten commissioners on the part of Virginia, having
maturely considered the reasons offered in the said protest, why those
gentlemen retired so soon from that service, beg leave to return the following

They are pleased in the first place to allege, by way of
reason, that having run the line near fifty miles beyond the inhabitants, it
was sufficient for a long time, in their opinion for an age or two. To this we
answer that, by breaking off so soon, they did but imperfectly obey his
majesty’s order, assented to by the lords proprietors. The plain meaning of
that order was, to ascertain the bounds betwixt the two governments as far
towards the mountains as we could, that neither the king’s grants may hereafter
encroach on the lords proprietors’, nor theirs on the rights of his majesty.
And though the distance towards the great mountains be not precisely
determined, yet surely the west line should be carried as near them as may be,
that both the king’s lands and those of their lordships, may be taken up the
faster, and that his majesty’s subjects may as soon as possible extend
themselves to that natural barrier. This they will certainly do in a few years,
when they know distinctly in which government they may enter for the land, as
they have already done in the more northern parts of Virginia. So that it is
strange the Carolina commissioners should affirm, that the distance only of
fifty miles above the inhabitants would be sufficient to carry the line for an
age or two, especially considering that, two or three days before the date of
their protest, Mr. Mayo had entered with them for two thousand acres of land,
within five miles of the place where they left off. Besides, if we reflect on
the richness of the soil in those parts, and the convenience for stock, we may
foretell, without the spirit of divination, that there will be many settlements
higher than those gentlemen went, in less than ten years, and perhaps in half
that time.19.

Another reason mentioned in the protest for their
retiring so soon from the service is, that their going farther would be a
needless charge and trouble. And they allege that the rest may be done by one
surveyor on a side, in an easy manner, whenever it shall be thought necessary.

To this we answer, that frugality for the public is a rare
virtue, but when the public service must suffer by it, it degenerates into a
vice. And this will ever be the case when gentlemen execute the orders of their
superiors by halves. But had the Carolina commissioners been sincerely frugal
for their government, why did they carry out provisions sufficient to support
them and their men for ten weeks, when they intended not to tarry half that
time? This they must own to be true, since they brought one thousand pounds of
provisions along with them. Now, after so great an expense in their
preparations, it had been no mighty addition to their charge, had they endured
the fatigue five or six weeks longer. It would at most have been no more than
they must be at, whenever they finish their work, even though they should fancy
it proper to trust a matter of that consequence to the management of one
surveyor. Such a one must have a number of men along with him, both for his
assistance and defence, and those men must have provisions to support them.21.

These are all the reasons these gentlemen think fit to mention in
their protest, though they had in truth a more powerful argument for retiring
so abruptly, which, because they forgot, it will be neighbourly to help them
out. The provisions they intended to bring along with them, for want of horses
to carry them, were partly dropped by the way, and what they could bring was
husbanded so ill, that after eighteen days, (which was the whole time we had
them in our company,) they had no more left, by their own confession, than two
pounds of biscuit for each man, to carry them home. However, though this was an
unanswerable reason for gentlemen for leaving the business unfinished, it was
none at all for us, who had at that time bread sufficient for seven weeks
longer. Therefore, lest their want of management might put a stop to his
majesty’s service, and frustrate his royal intentions, we judged it our duty to
proceed without them, and have extended the dividing line so far west as to
leave the great mountains on each hand to the eastward of us. And this we have
done with the same fidelity and exactness as if the gentlemen had continued
with us. Our surveyors (whose integrity I am persuaded they will not call in
question) continued to act under the same oath, which they had done from the
beginning. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the government of North Carolina
should not hold itself bound by that part of the line which we made without the
assistance of its commissioners, yet we shall have this benefit in it at least,
that his majesty will know how far his lands reach towards the south, and
consequently where his subjects may take it up, and how far they may be granted
without injustice to the lords proprietors. To this we may also add, that
having the authority of our commission, to act without the commissioners of
Carolina, in case of their disagreement or refusal, we thought ourselves bound
upon their retreat to finish the line without them, lest his majesty’s service
might suffer by any honour or neglect on their part. 22.


Full Colophon Information

Genre: Prose
Subjects: Frontier and Pioneer Life, Travel
Period: 1700-1750
Location: British American South, Chesapeake
Format: Account/Relation

This text was originally published in 1733.

The machine-readable text of the present edition was initially prepared from The Westover manuscripts containing the history of the dividing line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina, a journey to the land of Eden, A.D. 1733, and a progress to the mines written from 1728 to 1736 (Petersburg [Va.]: Printed by Edmund and Julian C. Ruffin, 1841) for "Documenting the American South" at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Libraries by Natalia Smith, who generously has permitted us to use a plain-text version for mark-up in EADA. The .xml encoded document has subsequently been proofed against the original. For the purpose of the present edition, all preliminaries and notes have been omitted except those for which the author is responsible. All editorial notes have been omitted except those that 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.