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The Natural History of North-Carolina.
OF THE Religion, Houses, Raiment, Diet, Liquors, Firing, Diversions, Commodities, Language, Diseases, Curiosities, Cattle, &c. of NORTH CAROLINA.
THE Religion by Law established, is the Protestant, as it is professed in England; and tho’ they seldom have Orthodox Clergymen among them, yet there are not only Glebe Lands laid out for that Use, commodious to each Town, but likewise convenient for building Churches. The want of these Protestant Clergy, is generally supply’d by some School-Masters, who read the Lithurgy, and then a Sermon out of Doctor Tillitson, or some good practical Divine, every Sunday. These are the most numerous, and are dispersed through the whole Province.
I shall treat of the other Religions as they are to be regarded according to their Numbers; and first of the Quakers: These People enjoy the same Privileges as with us in Ireland, and live for the most part in Albemarle County, wherein they have a decent Meeting-House.
The Presbyterians succeed next, and have had a Minister of their own Order for many Years past; they are chiefly settled in and about the River Neus.
Roman-Catholicks are the next considerable, and are settled in many Parts of the Country, but mostly in and about Bath-Town, they have likewise a Clergyman of their own Order among them at present.
Next succeed the Anabaptists, who live mostly in Albemarle County.
There are likewise many Sectaries in Carolina, who have little or no appearance of Religion, except some few Forms of Prayers. This I take to be intirely owing to our want of Orthodox Divines, to instruct them in the true Notions of God, and right method of Worshiping, according to the tenor of revealed Religion. It is common to see here numbers of Men, Women, and Children, Baptized all together, when a Clergyman arrives in those Parts, and I have actually seen the Grandfather, his Son, and Grandson, receive this Sacrament at one time. There are numbers who never require Baptism, and consequently never covet to be made Christians, yet use some few Forms of Prayer.
By what I have already urged, my Readers will naturally observe, that there is Liberty of Conscience allowed in the whole Province; however, the Planters live in the greatest Harmony imaginable, no Disputes or Controversies are ever observed to arrise among them about their Religious Principles. They always treat each other with Friendship and Hospitality, and never dispute over their Liquor, which is a Custom too frequent and too much indulged with us, and from whence dangerous Consequences have arisen: By this Unity of Affection, the Prosperity of the Province has increased from its first rise, to this Day. But though they are thus remarkable for their Friendship, Harmony and Hospitality, yet in regard to Morals, they have their share of the Corruptions of the Age, for as they live in the greatest Ease and Plenty, Luxury of Consequence predominates, which is never without its attendant Vices. Can it be admired, that the generality of them live after a loose and lacivious Manner, when according to my former Observation, they have no Clergy to instruct them, and recommend the Duties necessary belonging to a Christian; and is it not natural to believe that Impiety and Imorality, when a People are void of those Benefits, must sway the major part of them. I would not be understood here, as if I designed to advance these imputations of Vice against the whole Body of the People: No, there are certainly Persons of both Sexes Temperate, Frugal, Good Oeconemists, remarkably kind to Strangers, and those in Distress, and zealous in the practice of Christanity.
Their Houses are built after two different Ways; viz. the most substantial Planters generally use Brick, and Lime, which is made of Oyster-shells, for there are no Stones to be found proper for that purpose, but near the Mountains; the meaner Sort erect with Timber, the outside with Clap-Boards, the Roofs of both Sorts of Houses are made with Shingles, and they generally have Sash Windows, and affect large and decent Rooms with good Closets, as they do a most beautiful Prospect by some noble River or Creek.
Their Furniture, as with us, consists of Pewter, Brass, Tables, Chairs, which are imported here commonly from England: The better sort have tollerable Quantities of Plate, with other convenient, ornamental, and valuable Furniture.
The Cloathings used by the Men are English Cloaths, Druggets, Durois, Green Linnen, &c. The Women have their Silks, Calicoes, Stamp-Linen, Calimanchoes and all kind of Stuffs, some whereof are Manufactured in the Province. They make few Hats, tho’ they have the best Furrs in plenty, but with this Article, they are commonly supplied from New-England, and sometimes from Europe.
Their Diet consists chiefly of Beef, Mutton, Pork, Venison in Abundance, Wild and Tame Fowl, Fish of several delicate Sorts; Roots, Fruit, several kinds of Sallads, good Bread, Butter, Milk, Cheese, Rice, Indian Corn, both which they concoct like a Hasty-Pudding: But as I shall treat more particularly of the Productions of the Country in the succeeding Pages, I shall now proceed to their Liquors.
The Liquors that are common in Carolina at present, and chiefly made use of, are, Rum, Brandy, Mault Drink; these they import. The following are made in Country, viz. Cyder, Persimon-Beer, made of the Fruit of that Tree, Ceder-Beer, made of Ceder-Berries; they also make Beer of the green Stalks of Indian-Corn, which they bruise and boyle: They likewise make Beer of Mollosses, or common Treacle, in the following manner, they take a Gallon of Mollosses, a Peck of Wheaten Bran, a Pound of Hops, and a Barrel of Fountain Water, all which they boile together, and work up with Yest, as we do our Malt Liquors; this is their common Small-Beer, and seems to me to be the pleasantest Drink, I ever tasted, either in the Indies or Europe, and I am satisfied more wholsom. This is made stronger in proportion, as People fancy.
It is necessary to observe that though there is plenty of Barly and Oats in this Province, yet there is no Malt Drink made, notwithstanding all kind of Malt Liquors bear a good Price, nor have any of the Planters ever yet attempted it.
Chocolate, Teas, and Coffee, are as common in Carolina as with us in Ireland, particularly the last, which of late Years they have industriously raised, and is now very cheap: These are sober Liquors, and take off the better Sort from Drinking what are hot and spirituous, who are not so addicted to Rum and Brandy as the inferior Sort, Caslena or Yaupan, an Indian Tea, which grows here in Abundance is indifferently used by Planters and Indians.
The Fireing they use is Wood, and especially Hickery, though we discovered Pit-Coal in our Journies towards the Mountains, yet it is not worth their while to be at the expence of bringing it, Timber being so plenty.
The chiefest Diversions here are Fishing, Fowling; and Hunting, Wild Beasts, such as Deer, Bears, Racoons, Hares, Wild Turkies, with several other sorts, needless to treat of here, ’till we come to describe each particular Specie.
Horse-Racing they are fond of, for which they have Race-Paths, near each Town, and in many parts of the Country. Those Paths, seldom exceed a Quarter of a Mile in length, and only two Horses start at a time, each Horse has his peculiar Path, which if he quits, and runs into the other, looses the Race. This is agreed on to avoid Jockying. These Courses being so very short, they use no manner of Art, but push on with all the speed imaginable; many of these Horses are very fleet.
It is common for People to come and go from this Province to Virginia, to these publick Diversions.
They are much addicted to Gaming, especially at Cards and Dice, Hazard and All-fours, being the common Games they use; at which they play very high, nay to such a pitch, that I have seen several hundred Pounds won and lost in a short time.
Cock-Fighting they greatly admire, which Birds they endeavor to procure from England and Ireland, and to that intent, employ Masters of Ships, and other Trading Persons to supply them.
Wrestling, Leaping, and such Activities are much used by them; yet I never observed any Foot Races.
Dancing they are all fond of, especially when they can get a Fiddle, or Bag-pipe; at this they will continue Hours together, nay, so attach’d are they to this darling Amusement, that if they can’t procure Musick, they will sing for themselves. Musick, and Musical Instruments being very scarce in Carolina.
These are the most material Observations I have made in respect of their usual Diversions.
But they have a particular Season, which is only at their Wheat-Harvest, not to be omitted; this they celebrate with great Solemnity, it is in the beginning of June, at which time the Planters notify to each other, that they design to reap the aforesaid Grain, on a certain Day, some send their Negroes to assist, others only go to partake of the great Feasts, &c. Some will frequently come twenty, nay thirty Miles on this Occasion, the Entertainments are great, and the whole Scene pleasant and diverting; but if they can get Musick to indulge this Mirth, it greatly adds to the Pleasure of the Feast. It must be confest, that this annual Revelling is very expensive to the Planters, but as its customary, few omit it, nor have they ever those publick Diversions at the reaping any other Grain but the European Wheat.
I am sensible that many Persons, who by their Misbehaviour in this Country, were obliged to quit it, have maliciously endeavoured to represent, not only the Province, but its Inhabitants, in a wrong Light; but as they intirely take the Opportunity to talk either before those who were never there, or before Persons incapable of judging, it is to be hoped, that the scandalous reports of such, will not be regarded. Several of those trifling Nusances have to my knowledge, scarcely been out of the Town or Port where they first arrived, during their Residence there: How therefore cou’d they be acquainted with the Fertilty of the Country, the Constitution, and Temper of the Inhabitants; before the learn’d, by whom they can be convicted, they dare not appear? And if the credulous and ignorant will be amused, all the Arguments Man can produce will not avail.
The People live to as great Ages as most Europeans, they are entire Strangers to Consumptions, a Distemper fatal to us; but they are much addicted to aguish Disorders, which is incident to all Strangers, for they generally have their Seasonings at their first Arrival, or soon after, though it seldom proves mortal, and is easily carried off by Emeticks, and other Medicines properly given.
This Colony boasts more Advantages than several others on this Continent, both for Pleasure, Ease, and Profit: Were the Inhabitants as industrious as the Soil is bountiful, they might supply themselves with all the Necessaries of Life. With little Industry they may have Wines, Oil, Silk, Fruits, and many sorts of Drugs, Dyes, &c. Here the Curious may have a large Field to satisfie and divert their Curiosity; here they may collect strange Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Insects, Reptiles, Shells, Mines, Herbs, Flowers, Plants, Shrubs, Trees, Gums, Tears, Rosin, Stones, and several other things that yield both Profit and Satisfaction: If the plenty and cheapness of Provisions; and the low rate of Lands, may tempt People to this delightful Country, sure those who have but small Beginnings, with moderate industry, may here live more comfortably, and provide for their Families better than in any place I have yet seen in Europe.
The Rivers are very beautiful, pleasant, profitable, large and Navigable for several Leagues up the Country: They rise for the most part in or near the Mountains, and abound not only with great Quantities of delicate Fish, but likewise with Wild-Fowl of different kinds. In many of these Rivers are to be seen large and delightful Islands, where is excellent Pasturage and some of them afford large Stocks of Cattle and Deer, but scarce any Wild Beasts, and few Beasts of Prey. In these Islands frequently grow vast quantities of Cedar with several other kinds of valuable Timber Trees, as I have already mentioned.
The civilized Indians are very serviceable to the Planters in many Cases, particularly in making Weares to catch Fish; this they do for a small consideration, and it proves very advantagious to large Families, because they not only take great Quantities of different Sorts, but moreover what are very good and nourishing; these Weares are made after a method peculiar to the Indians only. Others Hunt and Fowl for them at very reasonable rates, this Country being as plentifully provided with all sorts of Game as any in America; the Indians sometimes assist the poorer sort of Planters in planting their Corn for small Triffles, when expedition is required.
The Mountains that are the most considerable are the Charokee, or Appelapean Mountains, they take their rise from the North-west part of South Carolina, and so continue in one Ridge to the Northward for several hundred Miles, being in most places five or six hundred Miles from the Sea; they are vastly high, and abound with Trees, various kinds of Plants, and Stones of several different Natures. Beyond these Mountains you have a prospect only of large Woods, Savannas, dismal Swamps and Forrests, being as is supposed, the Habitation of Savage Indians, and wild Beasts of various kinds.
The Commodities convenient to bring to this Province from Europe, are as follows; Guns, Powder, Ball, Shot, Flints, Linnens of all Sorts, but chiefly Blues; Brown and Stampt Linnens, Oznabrigs, Men and Women’s Apparel ready made up; some few Broad-Cloaths, Blew and Red Stuffs, Callimancoes, Druggets, Kersies, Camblets, all light Stuffs for Men and Women’s Summer Wear, Habberdashers Wares, Stockings of all sorts, some few Gloves, thin Wigs, Linnen Caps, Silk-thread, common Thread of all Sorts, Needles, Pins, Tobacco Pipes, Glass for Sashwindows, Looking Glasses, all sorts of hard Ware, such as Knives, Forks, Sizers, Saws, Hatchets, Chisels, Bills, Hoes, Spades, Shovels, Grubing Hoes, Wedges, Nails, and all manner of Tools for Carpenters, Shoemakers, Coopers Shave Locks, Locks for Doors, Traps of all Sorts, and especially for Beavers, what we commonly call Fox-Traps, Grindle-Stones, all manner of Whet-Stones, Paper, Ink, Saddles, Bridles, Fish-hooks of all Sorts, several Toys, as Fans, Necklaces, Beads, Ribbons, Tape, Thimbles, Shoe-buckles, and the like; Tradesmen of all sorts, Honest Servants and Negroes.
The produce of this Country for Exportation to Europe and the Islands, are Beef, Porke, Tallow, Hides, Deer-Skins, Furs, Wheat, Indian-Corn, Pease, Potatoes, Rice, Honey, Bees-wax, Myrtle-wax, Tobacco, Snake-root, Turpentine, Tar, Pitch, Masts for Ships, Staves, Planks and Boards of most sorts of Timber, Cotton, and several sorts of Gums, Tears, with some medicinal Drugs; Bricks and Tiles are made here, likewise several useful Earths, such as Bole, Fullers-Earth, Tobacco Pipe Clay, and Oaker, in great Plenty, excellent good Earth for the Potters Trade, and fine Sand for the Glassmakers. They export abundance of Horses to the Islands of Antegua, Barbadoes, &c.
Lead, Copper, Sulphure and Antimony, have been found here, but for want of good Encouragement, few or no endeavours have been made to discover these subterraneous Productions; here is likewise found in great Plenty the true Blood-Stone, near the Mountains, as also a very fine Earth, the same with Bruxels Sand, which the Goldsmiths use to cast with, which bears a good Price in several parts of Europe. We have likewise Chalibeat Waters, of several Tastes, and different Qualities, some Purging and others working by the Emunctories; there are several Waters also amongst the Inhabitants that outwardly cure Ulcers, Tettars, and Sores (disorders they are very subject to in this Country) by washing themselves in it; neither do they want very good Springs of fresh Water; as for Pump-water, ’tis to be had in most places in this Province.
We have an Account from the Indians, that there are hot Baths near the Hilly Country, where a great likelihood appears of making Salt-petere, because the Earth in many places is strongly mixed and impregnated with a Nitrous Salt, which is much coveted by the Beasts of this Country, who come at certain Seasons of the Year in great Numbers, and by their licking this Earth, make great Holes in those Banks, which sometimes lye at the Heads of great Precipices, where they often tumble down and are dash’d in pieces.
It is very certain that the most Sweet and healthful Part of this Country is inhabited only by the Savage Indians at present; and a great deal thereof has no other Inhabitants but the wild Beasts. For the Indians are not inclinable to settle in the richest Lands, because the Timbers are too large for them to cut down to make Plantations of: A farther confirmation of the healthfulness of the Hilly parts of this Country, is very apparent, in the large Stature and gray Heads so common to be met with amongst the Savages that dwell near the Mountains.
The Christians or Planters of North Carolina, Barter the Commodities that are produced in the Country for Rum, Sugar, Mollosses, Negroes, and the like.
The current Coin of this Country is at present only made of Paper Bills, which pass throughout all this Province; not but that the Gold and Silver Coin of all Nations pass here, according to their Weight or intrinsick Value, which the Planters carefully preserve to buy Negroes with in the Islands and other Places. The Contents of the Bills in this Province are as follows, viz. This Bill of ten Pounds shall be current in all Payments in North Carolina, according to an Act of Assembly made November 9th. 1729. This is the greatest Bill, and twelve Pence the smallest, which is wrote after the same manner of the former. The Assembly nominate five of their Members, who sign all these Bills with different Ink; all these Bills are numbered in figures at the top, in the nature of Bank-Bills, and Seals fixt to each of them; there is about thirty or forty thousand Pounds of this kind of Money in North Carolina.
There is a Treasury Office kept wherein all the Bills are changed, and new ones given for those that are old and torn; yet not withstanding all the Care that is taken, these Bills are counterfeited, and the publick very often imposed upon. The Money of North Carolina is in value five Shillings for one Sterling; and in South Carolina, the difference is Seven to One Sterling; with these Bills they purchase Lands, and all Necessaries.
It is admirable to observe the Prosperity of several Adventurers to Carolina, in the memory of Man; and how many from the most despicable beginnings in a short time, by Gods blessing and their own industry, are arrived to as splendid Fortunes, as any have in other British Provinces on this Continent. All manner of Game is here very plenty, neither are there any Laws here to bind their Priviledges, as it is with us in Ireland, for the meanest Planter may, with as much Freedom, destroy all manner of Game, as he that is the most Wealthy, or highest in Dignity. So that the poorest Planter has as much Right to the delicaceies of this Country, as the richest; nay the very Labourer is intituled to the same Priviledge.
The Language principally made use of in this Province is the English; notwithstanding there are Planters settled here from France, Germany, Holland, and many other parts of Europe, who have all learn’d and speak the English Tongue, many of the Indians also use it, and especially the three civilized Kings, and those that Trade and Converse with the English; there are many of the Planters that understand and speak the Indian Language well.
The Diseases that are most common in Carolina are, Agues, or intermittent Fevers, Cachexia, Diarrhaea, Dysenteria, the Clap and French Pox, the Yaws, Chollicks, Cholera-Morbus, Convulsions, Hooping-Cough, Cutaneous Disorders, such as Tetters, Ring-worms, Rashes, prickley-Heats, and the Itch.
The Agues or intermittent Fevers, do generally admit of the same method of Cure as with us in Ireland, so that it would be needless to repeat it here, which almost every old Woman pretends to have an infalible Cure for.
The Cachexy, or ill habit of Body, is a very common Distemper in these Parts; ’tis very stubborn in its Nature, and tedious and difficult to be cured. In this disorder, the Face is very pale and discolor’d, and the Body big and swoln; this Distemper is principally owing to their eating great quantities of Fruit that this Country produces, and to a sedentary way of living, and their eating Clay and Dirt, which the Children, both Whites and Blacks, and some of the old People are very subject to; by which means the whole Humours of the Body are corrupted and vitiated to that degree (through surfeits and ill digestion) that they will hardly admit of a Cure. Steel’d Wines, and other Preparations of filings and rust of Iron, strong Purgers, and Exercises, are the only Methods to perfect the Cure of this Distemper.
The Cholera-Morbus, is a vehement Perturbation of the whole Body and Bowels, from a deprav’d Motion of the Ventricle and Guts, whereby bilious, sharp, or corrupt Humours, are plentifully and violently discharged upwards and downwards. This disorder is happily carried off by giving proper Doses of the Ipecauacana, that grows plentifully in Carolina, which I have already made mention of.
The Cramp or Convulsions, is a Motion whereby the Muscles or Membranes are contracted and remitted, without the Will. This Disorder is common in these Parts, and especially amongst the Negroes or Blacks, whereof many die, either for want, or before proper Medicines can be administer’d; it admits of the same method of Cure as with us in Europe.
The White and Bloody-Flux are common Distempers in Carolina, and so are the Clap and French Pox; these are cured after the same manner as with us.
The Yaws, are a Disorder not well known in Europe, but very common and familiar here; it is like the Lues venerea, having most of the Symptoms that attend the Pox, such as Nocturnal Pains, Botches, foul Erruptions, and Ulcers in several parts of the Body, and is acquired after the same manner as the Pox is, viz. by Copulation, &c. but is never attended with a Gonorrhaea in the beginning. This Distemper was brought hither by the Negroes from Guinea, where it is a common Distemper amongst them, and is communicated to several of the Europeans or Christians, by their cohabiting with the Blacks, by which means it is hereditary in many Families in Carolina, and by it some have lost their Palates and Noses.
This Distemper, though of a venereal kind, is seldom cured by Mercurials, as I have often experienced, for I have known some undergo the Course of three Salavations to no purpose, the virulency still continuing as bad as ever: Wherefore I judge it not amiss to set forth the most effectual method for curing it, which I have often experience’d, and never without good success (during my residence in those parts) though the Distemper was of ever so violent a nature, or long continuance; it is as follows:
Take four Ounces of the Bark of the Spanish Oak, two Ounces of the middle Bark of the Pine Tree, two Ounces of the Root of the Sumack, that bears the Berries, of these Ingredients make a strong Decoction, whereof let the Patient drink a full Pint milk-warm and half a Pint cold, this gives a strong Vomit, by which abundance of filthy Matter is discharged. This is what is to be done the first Day. Then let the Patient drink half a Pint three times a Day, viz. in the Morning, at one o’Clock in the Afternoon, and at Night, for six Weeks; and if there be any outward Sores, wash them clean five or six times a-Day with part of the same Decoction, ’till they are all healed up, and the Patient becomes well.
The Patient must abstain from all sorts of flesh Meat, and Strong Liquors during the said Course, his principal Diet must be Broth, Gruel, Penaeda, and the like. They may boil the above quantity of Ingredients four times, if more, it will be too weak; this Method effectually cures the Yaws in the said time, and the Patient becomes as strong and healthy as ever. I have here given the true method of the Cure of this Distemper, it being little known in Europe.
The Cholick, or Dry Belly-ach, is another common Distemper in this Country, and is often attended with such violent Convulsions, that frequently the Limbs are so contracted (and especially the Hands) that for want of Care and good Advice, they have continued so all their life time; though I have known some of them die in these Fits, which are attended with such a violent constipation of the Bowels, that they cannot void any thing either upwards or downwards. Strong Vomits, Purges, Clysters, and Oyntments, for the contracted Limbs, are the most effectual Methods to carry off this Disorder.
Rashes and Prikley-heat, are common Disorders here; in the extremity of the hot Weather, which suddenly comes after cold, they are attended with extream Itchings all over the Body, especially the Legs, which if scratched immediately, inflame, and become inveterate Sores and Ulcers; to prevent which, Spirit of Wine and Camphir or any other Spirit, is of excellent use, by applying it to the Parts.
Tetters and Ring-worms, are common in this Province, and are easily cur’d by severa1 Plants in this Country, and especially by the Juice of the Sheep-Sorrel, by applying it to the Part infected.
The Hooping-Cough, at my arrival in Carolina, was an universal Disorder amongst young and old, whereof several Negroes died. It continued in this Province for seven or eight Months successively, beginning in September, and ending in June; after Bleeding and Vomiting, I found the Jesuite Bark to be of excellent use in this disorder. I was assured by many in Carolina, that they never knew this Distemper in these Parts before that time.
The Children are much afflicted with the Worms, which is owing to their eating vast quantities of Fruit, this excess sometimes occasions Fevers amongst them, yet they are cured after the same manner as with us, likewise with many Plants growing here.
As for Cutaneous Disorders they are seldom at a loss for a speedy Cure, not only from the Plants, but likewise the Waters. Thus have I given an Account of the most common Disorders amongst the Christian Inhabitants.
The Curiosities here are, variety of strange wild Beasts, and several kinds of Birds, Fishes, Snakes, Insects, Reptiles, Herbs, Plants, Shrubs, Trees, and Fruits: many whereof are not to be met with in Europe, which the Reader will find inserted in their proper Places, when I come to treat on those heads. There is a large Cave on the top of the Mountains, that will hold a hundred Men and more to sit in, but whether it be natural or artificial, is not known by any that have seen it; but I am of Opinion that it is natural, the Indians having had no Tools to work in Wood or Stone, at the first arrival of the Europeans, so that it cannot be reasonably imagined that a Work of this nature could be perfected without proper Instruments for that purpose.
As all Grain and Pulse thrive here to admiration, so do the Stocks of Cattle, Horses, and Swine multiply surprizingly, there being as great numbers of each Species, as in any Province possessed by the English in America.
The Veal is very good and white, but they seldom kill any for the Market, being fond to preserve their Calves to a larger growth. The Planters make Penfolds adjacent to their Habitations, wherein they milk their Cows every Morning and Evening; after which, they turn them into the Woods, where they remain feeding all Day; when they return at Night, they carefully shut up their Calves with some few of the Cows, in those Penfolds, which protects them from the Wolves, or any other voracious wild Beasts: In the Mornings and Evenings the Cows return from the Woods to be milked, and are turned out as usual; the Calves are turned into the Inclosures where they remain feeding and safe all the Day, no wild Beast ever appearing near their Plantations in that space of time. I have seen one hundred Calves together in one of these Penfolds, being all the Property of one Planter. The Calves generally suck their Dams all the time they are milking, otherwise the Cows would not suffer any one to touch them. The Milk is very pleasant and rich.
Their Heifers bring forth Calves at eighteen or twenty Months old; this early production makes such a wonderful increase, that many of the Planters, from mean beginnings, are Masters now of such large Stocks of Cattle, that you may buy hundreds in the Season: Their method of killing, is generally to shoot them in the Fields, or in the Penfolds; then they cut off the Head and Feet, and take out the Intrails, which they throw away as useless, except the Fat, (which they carefully preserve.) After this manner they continue killing all the Year, as they have Occasion.
If the Cattle be suffered to live to a proper Age, their Beef proves as large and fat as any in the neighbouring Colonies. They kill vast Quantities of Beeves in October, and the other cool Months, especially when they intend them for Salting and Exportation, for at those Seasons they are in their prime of Flesh, and best preserved. The Exportation of this Commodity is one of the greatest Branches of their Trade.
It may perhaps seem very strange to some Europeans, how the Planters can have such large Stocks of Cattle, where there are such Numbers of Wolves, Tygers, Panthers, and other Beasts of Prey; but I can assure them that they give themselves no further trouble than what I have already observed, few or no wild Beasts ever daring or attempting to kill either Calves or Foles, fearing their Dams, who vigorously defend them. When a Cow hath once espied a Wolf or any other voracious Beast near, she gives a Signal by bellowing and roaring, upon which all the Black Cattle within her hearing will run to her assistance, and most resolutely defend their own Species.
There are great Numbers of those Cattle wild, which continually breed in the Woods, (so are there of Horses and Mares) here you shall see great Droves feeding promiscously in the Savannas amongst the Deer, fifty or Sixty Miles distant from any Inhabitants. This sociable Disposition amongst Beasts of different kinds we observed in our Traveling up towards the Mountains, which, together with the Beauty of the Country gave us no small Satisfaction.
The Horses are well shaped, swift, and generally about thirteen or fourteen Hands high, they are durable and will travel incredible Journies. They are never shod, partly by reason of the softness of the Ground, which is covered over with Grass, without any Gravel or Stones; they have few or no distempers amongst them as in European Countries, such as Spavin, Splint, Ringbones, and the like; they are seldom or never blind, and generally live twenty Years or more, most commonly dying of old Age. If there were but good Stallions and Mares sent here from England, or any other Parts, we could not fail of a good Breed in a short time; the Country and Pasturage being so proper for that end.
The Planters are the worst Horse-masters I have ever met with, for few or none allow Corn to their Horses after long Journies, for they frequently tye them to a Tree for Hours together, and sometimes for a Day or two without any manner of subsistence, from whence it sometimes happens that they break loose, and take into Woods, where they remain for Weeks together, with the Saddles on their Backs, before they are found out, and had not they been such good Drudges as they are, there would be but few in this Province, with the bad usage they give them.
The Horses which they keep within the Inclosures, and some times feed with Indian-Corn, are rendered very durable for Journies and Hunting in the Woods. I hope it will not be improper here to give the Reader an Account how they take the Wild Horses in the Woods, which is as follows. The Planters generally, two or more hunt on Horseback in the Woods together, and as soon as they espie a wild Horse, they pursue him, and their Horses are so well train’d to this way of Hunting, that they will neither hurt themselves nor the Riders against a Tree, though you ride them in full Speed, they will perform this for Hours together, ’till such time as the wild Horse stands still; then one of the Hunters alights and claps a Bridle into his Mouth, and a Saddle on his Back (tho’ ten or fifteen Years old) and rides him to their own, or the next Plantation, where they feed him with Indian-Corn and Salt, which feeding, in a little time, makes him as tame and domestick, as any in their Plantation, and fit to pursue his wild Species in the Woods at the next Hunting match, or any other use they have occasion to make of him.
The Sheep thrive well, having two or three Lambs at one Yeaning; they are never suffered to ramble in the Woods (as the other Cattle are) but are kept in Inclosures in the Plantations, from whence they will come every Evening to the Planters Houses, having no Defence against the wild Beasts (and especially the Wolves, their mortal Enemy) at Night they are put up in their Penfolds made of Timber, which every Planter has for that Purpose to defend them from all manner of wild Beasts, but it sometimes happens, through Negligence, that if they are not Inclosed, they become a Prey to the Wolves, who never fail to search and watch for them at Night. The Mutton is generally exceeding Fat, and as well relish’d as any I have met with in Europe. Their Wool is fine, and a good Commodity here. They seldom kill any of their Lambs for the Market, but generally preserve them to a greater Age; neither are the native Planters so fond of Mutton (which is of a middling Size) as the Europeans generally are.
Of Goats, they have but very few in Carolina, and yet they would thrive very well there; but they are so mischievous to Gardens, Orchards, and other Trees, that the Native Planters are not fond of keeping or preserving great numbers of them, though their Flesh is fat and well relish’d, as any in Europe, and their skins are as good.
The Swine are more numerous here than in any of the English Provinces; and the Pork exceeds any in Europe for Goodness. The plenty of Acorns, Nuts, and other Fruits, which the Woods naturally afford, make their Flesh of an excellent Taste, and produces great quantities of them; some Planters possess several hundreds, and vast numbers are to be met with in the Woods, which are every persons Property that can kill them; for no one claims them as his own, except they bear his own Mark or Brand, and it is so with Horses and Cows, that are wild in the Woods. The Planters export vast quantities of Pork to the Islands in the West Indies, such as Barbadoes, Antegua, and several other places where Provisions are scarce, for such Commodities as they have occasion for.
They have plenty of all manner of Domestick Fowl, such as Geese, common Ducks, Muscovy Ducks, Turkeys, Cocks and Hens, Pigeons, and the like, to be purchased at cheaper Rates, than in any part of Europe.
Notwithstanding North Carolina yields to no Country in point of Fertility, especially for Cattle, Venison, Fish and Flesh, yet amongst all this Plenty, there is a scarcity of sufficient Hands to cultivate this noble and fertile Soil. It is capable of producing as good Hemp and Flax, as grow in most parts of Europe, and Linnen might here be brought to great perfection.
This Country likewise produces as good Tobacco, as any to be met with in Virginia, Maryland, or any other Neighbouring Province in the Hands of the English: But the Planters having so many other valuable Commodities proper for Exportation, they little regard or improve it at present, in proportion to what they do in other Provinces.
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