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Portait by Raeburn.
THE finding of an interesting manuscript is much like the sighting of an unexpected island by a mariner sailing in strange seas, for the exploration of either, whatever may be the ultimate value of the discovery, affords all the excitement that accompanies an adventure into the unknown. Nor has this Journal of a Lady of Quality, stumbled upon accidentally in a search for other material, failed in any particular to fulfill the expectations of its discoverers or the promise of its charming title and opening pages; and one can only marvel that such a treasure should have lain so long unproclaimed.
That an incredulous reader may not have to speculate regarding the genuineness of the Journal, the editors hasten to say that it is no twentieth century fabrication, but that the manuscript from which the present text is printed is known as Egerton, 2423, and is even now in the British Museum. It is a quarto volume labelled Travels in the West Indies and South Carolina, 1774, ‘75; and in the Museum Catalogue it is entered as a Journal by a Lady, of a Voyage from Scotland to the West Indies and South Carolina, with an account of personal experiences during the War of Independence, and a visit to Lisbon on her return 25 October 1774–December 1775. Quite a long description that, but withal an inaccurate one; and surely he was a careless retainer of the British Museum who did the labelling, for even a cursory reading of the beautiful manuscript shows that  North Carolina should be substituted for South Carolina, and that the narrative itself deals, at most, with only the preliminary events of the American War for Independence and continues nearly to the beginning of February, 1776.
As a narrative, the Journal falls naturally into four parts, dealing respectively with the voyage from Scotland to the West Indies; with life and experiences in the West Indies at Antigua and St. Kitts, and the voyage from St. Kitts to the Cape Fear River; with life on the Cape Fear just before the American War of Independence; and, finally, with the various adventures and experiences of Miss Schaw and her companions in Portugal on her way back to Scotland. Nowhere in our manuscript does the name of the author occur, and, for the most part, the names of persons referred to are in blank; so that only after much following of clues and searching in the records of England, Scotland, Ireland, the West Indies, and America have the editors been able to trace the careers of those who play the leading parts in the story. With the blanks filled out as far as possible, with but few corrections in spelling and capitalization, and with here and there a change in the diverting, but somewhat erratic, punctuation, the Journal, in the form now presented, is the same as that of the British Museum manuscript.
But of more importance than these slight changes in form is the fact that two other copies of the Journal are known to exist, one of which, the Vetch manuscript, owned by a descendant of the Schaws and recently bequeathed to a descendant of the Rutherfurds—the two families that play the chief rôles in the Journal—we have not been allowed to examine, even for purposes of textual comparison. The other, now in the possession of Mr. Vere Langford Oliver, the distinguished author of a history of Antigua, was purchased by him a few years ago in the belief that it was unique; and although this is not the case, it is of particular value in that  it gives the name of the author and is dedicated to Alexander Schaw, Esqr, the Brother, Freind, and fellow traveler of the Author, his truly affect. Jen. Schaw, St. Andrews Square, March 10, 1778. Mr. Oliver, who has compared his copy with that in the British Museum, says that although there are differences in binding and pagination, the two manuscripts are in the same handwriting and differ but slightly in phraseology. Our belief is that both are copies of the same manuscript, which, in turn, may have been the original; for these letters, written to a dear friend, probably a woman back in Scotland, by this same Jen. Schaw while on her eventful journey to the West Indies and North Carolina, were probably copied many times for circulation among relatives and friends. Thus, from 1904, when the editors of the present volume came upon the British Museum manuscript, these other manuscripts have been appearing, first Colonel Vetch’s and later Mr. Oliver’s, to claim the title for the only and original; and almost comically, have been masquerading, like three Dromios, somewhat to the confusion and dismay, but also to the amusement, of some of the discoverers of the prize.
If further proof were needed, both of the authenticity of the Journal and also of the accuracy and truthfulness of the author in describing places, events, and individuals, that is supplied by the notes and appendices of this volume, in which Professor Andrews has checked up or amplified each point of personal and historical interest. Scholarly research has been applied to the work of this delightful Lady of Quality, but she holds her ground firmly and ably, as with ease and fluency she discusses manners and customs, climate and scenery, sugar-culture and farming, friends—their houses, amusements, recreations, and sorrows—and, fortunately for posterity, happenings and human beings as she saw both in the West Indies and North Carolina just before the American War for Independence. Rarely is she caught  napping, and with her enthusiasm and humour, her ability to make us see and feel with her, she carries us to a triumphant end. Reluctantly we close the volume, for we would know all her story; but she leaves us abruptly in Portugal, with never a hint as to how she got back to Scotland or how and where she spent the later years of her life: and we ask ourselves, Who was this affect. Jen. Schaw, where did she come from and whither did she go, this vivacious, adventurous, aristocratic lady, this devoted sister, who willingly faced great discomfort and hardships in order to accompany one dear brother to his new home in the West Indies and to visit another in the far distant British colony of North Carolina? What manner of woman is this who suddenly appears on our field of vision, leaves an unforgettable account of herself and her relatives and friends, and vanishes as suddenly as she came? What is her achievement, and what is the significance for us of this Journal of hers? It is in the search for answers to these questions that one begins a real voyage of adventure.
The Journal relates that there sailed from the Firth of Forth on October 25, 1774, a small craft, the Jamaica Packet, bound for the West Indies and North Carolina, the chief passengers of which were a young Scotsman and his sister, the author of the Journal, who from other sources we discover were Alexander and Janet Schaw of Edinburgh. Travelling with them were Fanny, an attractive girl of eighteen or nineteen, John, Jr., or Jack, a lad of eleven, and William Gordon, the nine-year-old Billie of the Journal, connections of the Schaws, and children of John Rutherfurd, a prominent resident of the colony of North Carolina. Besides these five, there were also Mrs. Mary Miller, Miss Schaw’s maid, whom she called her Abigail, and who is a comic figure in the story; and the faithful, efficient Robert, Mr. Schaw’s grave East Indian servant, who almost magically made up for deficiencies in the menu when live stock  and food had been swept overboard and the passengers were facing possible starvation. And that the Journal might lack no element of romance, there were the fine English sailors, the honest mate, the subservient supercargo, hand in glove with the unscrupulous captain; the pitiful emigrants smuggled aboard and treated like slaves; frightful storms and rumours of pirates; and hovering in the background, always the sinister figure of Parker, the rascally owner of the vessel, whose evil deeds constantly came to light during the perilous voyage on which the Schaws were embarked. Nowhere, we think, does our author display so well her own sterling qualities of character and charming personality, as in this, the opening chapter of the Journal. From the start she captures our interest for herself and for her companions of what she picturesquely calls her little wooden kingdom, and with a real sense of climax, sustains it at high pitch, until she and they, after a stormy passage of seven weeks, from which they but barely escape with their lives, sail safely into the beautiful harbour of St. John’s at Antigua. For months, off and on, regardless of storms, severe cold, intense heat, or the distractions of travel, Miss Schaw wrote her journal-letters, describing, as the case might be, the tropical and almost Oriental luxury of the West Indies, the exciting and interesting events of our pre-revolutionary history, or the details of her amusing experiences in Setubal and Lisbon, never forgetting her promise to the fortunate and adored friend in Scotland who was her inspiration. Dating her first letter 9 o’clock evening, October 25, 1774, Miss Schaw says: I propose writing you every day, but you must not expect a regular journal. I will not fail to write whatever can amuse myself; and whether you find it entertaining or not, I know you will not refuse it a reading. As every subject will be guided by my own immediate feelings, my opinions and descriptions will depend on the health and humour of the moment in which I write; from which cause my sentiments  will often appear to differ on the same subject. It is not surprising that the journal of such a delightfully whimsical and candid author as this letter shows Miss Schaw to be, should be both accurate and refreshing, and that its author should win for herself at the outset the affectionate interest of her readers. Fortunately for us she was blessedly unaware, as she jotted down her opinions and descriptions according to the humour of the moment that she was writing for posterity a document of rare interest and importance, one which, as far as we know, and especially as it bears on the Scottish phase of American colonial history, is unique. Little did she suspect that she was to be caught in the net of the future historian and labelled as a valuable specimen of those Scots who figured in the colonizing movements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In the lowlands of Scotland, amid the hills and valleys and along the rivers and firths from the Grampians to the Tweed and the Clyde, were scores of Scottish families of old-time stock whose attention was attracted early to the islands and mainland of the New World. Even before the end of the seventeenth century, young Scotsmen had begun to wander across the seas, either to fill civil offices in the colonies, to find cheap land upon which to set up farms and plantations, or to serve in regiments, stationed for longer or shorter periods in Boston, New York, or some one of the island colonies. As lands in the West Indies became more difficult to obtain, because of the growth of the sugar industry, many of the settlers turned to the mainland of America, to North Carolina in particular, and after the opening of the Cape Fear section, colonized there in great numbers— Hamiltons, Martins, Mackinnens, Hallidays, Murrays, Duncans, Rutherfurds, Pringles, and Schaws—all of whom figure in this Journal. Before the end of the colonial period both Lowland and Highland Scots were to be found in North Carolina, Georgia, New York, and Nova Scotia, with  a few in Maryland and Virginia as well; and some of them, men of the old covenanting blood and spirit, alive to the opportunities offered by commerce or the development of large plantations, became important officials or planters and tradesmen of prominence and influence. Wherever these Scotsmen found themselves, whether in the West Indies or on the American Continent, in Oporto or in Lisbon—Portuguese cities where treaty relations with Great Britain made it possible for English and Scottish merchants to monopolize commerce—there they established homes and places of business, and retaining their devotion to their mother-country, their king, and their traditions, created centres of Scottish life that became in reality little Scotlands. Mutual affection and devotion characterized these Scottish families, wherever their members settled. Eager for news from home, those in the colonies extended generous hospitality to the wandering members of their own family, or the families of their friends; those that remained in Scotland never lost interest in their kin across the sea, aided them with money, and welcomed them back whenever they could come. Thus had the stage been set for Alexander and Janet Schaw, who, all unconscious of so much preparation for their advent into history, wandered happily from one to another of the West Indian islands, to various plantations and centres of the colony of North Carolina, and finally, Miss Schaw herself, to Lisbon, meeting old friends and acquaintances, and enjoying the lavish hospitality that clannish Scotsmen naturally offered to such charming and distinguished guests.
It is a matter for congratulation that Miss Schaw made her visit to the West Indies and the Cape Fear just when she did, for had she come a few years later, she would have found Antigua and St. Kitts, not at the height of their prosperity as they were in 1774, with the Hamiltons, Martins, and Paynes dispensing almost royal hospitality, but suffering from the somewhat devastating effects of the American  Revolution: and had she come earlier, we should have lacked a chronicler of a period of our own revolutionary history for which there exists no finer contemporary document than her Journal. Not only does she describe graphically and interestingly the natural scenery and social life of the places she visited—for she is a gifted letter writer, as other extant letters of hers prove—but she gives us pictures of political life in North Carolina during the stormy pre-revolutionary days which are typical, not only of the Cape Fear, but also of many other colonial centres, and which help us to understand, even if they do not induce us to accept, the conservative point of view held by those who in such troublous times remained loyal to their mother-country. From the moment of her arrival at Brunswick until she sailed for Portugal in the autumn of 1775, Miss Schaw gives a running account of affairs in the Cape Fear, both social and political, as seen by one of the group of loyalists and conservatives, of whom many undoubtedly were forced into active opposition to the colonial government by the violence of the extreme radicals. In this connection it is interesting to learn that of the men of Brunswick and Wilmington whom the Schaws knew well, those who moved to the Cape Fear from Charleston, such as Richard Quince, William Dry, Joseph Eagles, James Moore, and others, became the nucleus, as it were, of the united provincial group, which often, and especially after the actual outbreak of hostilities, opposed those newcomers and foreigners of English or Scottish birth, such  as Dr. Cobham, Robert Hogg, the Rutherfurds, and the Schaws. Such cleavages of friendship were unhappily frequent, for political feeling ran high in all the colonies; and it is not difficult to understand Miss Schaw’s indignation when she saw the radical group of North Carolina politicians, self-styled patriots, forcing into rebellion a colony which she believed had itself no real grievance against the mother-country. Her accounts of the persecutions of such refined, intellectual men as Dr. Cobham and Archibald Neilson, and of such honorable business men as Robert Hogg, Samuel Campbell, and Thomas MacKnight—persecutions that drove them either out of the colony entirely or most unwillingly into the ranks of the king’s party; her story of the tarring and feathering of Neilson’s valet; of the enforced drilling of unwilling volunteers; of the threats against the lives of peaceful citizens who refused to sign the Association—all these details, vividly and feelingly described, together with her own impressions of individuals and events, constitute a story that challenges the attention of all those genuinely interested in our movement for independence. Such contemporary evidence makes us realize that our forefathers, however worthy their object, were engaged in real rebellion and revolution, characterized by the extremes of thought and action that always accompany such movements, and not in the kind of parlour warfare, described in many of our text books, in which highly cultivated and periwigged American gentlemen of unquestioned taste and morality, together with farmers of heroic mould, engaged life and limb for principles of democratic government, which developed, in fact, only during later periods of our national life. A definitive account of the loyalists in our revolution has yet to be written, but such a contribution should help to clarify our minds about the facts of our colonial history, and counteract the false judgments and prejudices which perpetuate what a recent writer so aptly describes as the ancient grudge.
But this Journal, valuable as it undoubtedly is as history, claims recognition for itself also as a literary and human document, and places its author among the littérateurs of her country and century. Researches, amply rewarded in other respects, unfortunately have failed to secure much information about the personal life of Janet Schaw herself; but we know that she was born in Lauriston, a suburb of Edinburgh, in a house which is still standing, and conjecture that at the  time of her voyage to the West Indies and America she was possibly thirty-five or forty years of age. She came of an old Scottish family that counted as blood relations or connections by marriage Murrays, Rutherfurds, and Scotts, and was herself a third cousin once removed of Sir Walter Scott. The common ancestor of all was a certain John Schaw, minister of Selkirk, who had married Anne, daughter of an early Sir John Murray of Philiphaugh. On January 23, 1723, Janet’s father, Gideon Schaw, was married to an Anne Rutherfurd, also a cousin of Sir Walter’s and great-aunt of the three Rutherfurd children who accompanied Alexander and Janet Schaw to America. By this marriage there were six children, of whom three only, Robert, Janet, and Alexander, figure in this Journal. As early as 1726 Gideon Schaw and his wife were living at Lauriston Yards, a fourteen acre farm just outside Edinburgh, now included in the city proper; and we know that there the eldest daughter, Anne, was born; but inasmuch as from 1730 to 1751 Gideon Schaw held positions in other parts of Scotland, and as we can find no records of birth or baptism for Janet or Alexander, we can only guess as to where they were born and when. Janet probably spent many years at Lauriston, and we believe that she was residing there at the time of her father’s death in 1772, two and a half years before her narrative opens; but of her later life, after her return from Lisbon in the winter of 1776, we know almost nothing. That she was living in Edinburgh, at least for a time, is indicated by the dedication in 1778 of one copy of the Journal from St. Andrews Square in that city, and also from an entry in the Edinburgh directory of 1778-1779, which gives her residence as New Town, a northern section of Edinburgh which included St. Andrew’s Square. Such are the meagre facts of the life of our charming Lady of Quality. Had she, like her brother Alexander or her relative John Rutherfurd, held positions of public trust, or, like her brother Robert and the Rutherfurd children, owned land  on the Cape Fear,
public records would have been available for her history as they have been for the history of these others; but she, the most important person connected with the Journal, remains for the most part unrecorded. Nor is the elusive lady to be caught anywhere it seems, for as far as we know she did not marry; and having made her contribution to history and letters, she passes on—what woman but will envy her!—without date, ageless, just Janet Schaw, the author of The Journal of a Lady of Quality.
But if records fail to furnish the life history of our author, her Journal is rich in revelations of her character and ability and shows her to be a well-born Scotswoman, loyal to her country and her king, in her tastes and preferences an aristocrat, and in religious, social, and political views a typical member of the educated class in Scotland in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Her prejudices and antipathies, though largely temperamental, are to a certain extent also those of her class; and although they do not invalidate her sense of fact, at times they warp her judgment and blind her to the real significance of the events in which she plays an important part. But, on the whole, Miss Schaw exhibits a tolerance and breadth of view, especially in matters pertaining to religion and faith, that seem unusual, unless one recalls the fact that she was living and writing at a time when Scotland was not only passing through a period of great material prosperity, marked by extension of trade and rapid development in agriculture; but was also making her greatest contribution to science, philosophy, and literature, and through such men as David Hume, Adam Smith, Black, Leslie, Hutton, and above all Macpherson, was exercising a profound influence on the contemporary thought of the intellectual world. It is not surprising, therefore, to find Miss Schaw discussing scientific methods of tilling the soil and harvesting the crops, and drawing comparisons between the thrifty intensive farming she had seen in East Lothian and  the shockingly wasteful methods employed by whites and blacks alike on the plantations of the Cape Fear. Also, it is natural that, inheriting as she did the literary traditions of Allan Ramsay and James Thomson, and living in the midst of a metaphysical and philosophical renaissance, she should take great pride in the philosophers and poets of her country, should quote them frequently with admiration and approval, and adopt them as guides in the conduct of life. We almost catch the contemporary thrill when she exclaims over the magic beauty of Ossian; and share her amusement when she finds that the book from which Fanny Rutherfurd was reading aloud when the boat seemed to be sinking, was not the Bible but, as Miss Schaw laughingly confesses, Lord Kames’s Elements of Criticism! However, she is deeply religious and revels in hymns and the Scriptures, as her frequent quoting of both attests; and although she disclaims being a bigot and really is a very tolerant person, she acknowledges that the force of habit is too strong to allow her to be anything more than a spectator at the ceremonies of other churches than her own. She prefers, so she says on one occasion with her characteristic frankness, the snivelling of a sincere-hearted country precentor to the impressive service and grand music of the beautiful church at Antigua, and doubts whether there is much real religion in the ceremonious procedure of the Anglican church.
Her antipathies, however, are not only religious, they are political and social as well; but inasmuch as she is never ill-humoured in her criticism, her strong feelings on various subjects only tend to make her more vivid, and produce in any portrait of her an effect of earnestness and force that contrast delightfully with the varied and lighter sides of her character. As might be expected, from a Lowland Scot, a staunch Presbyterian, and a Hanoverian, she is thoroughly distrustful of her neighbors the French, who, she says with much contempt, are like chattering, grimacing monkeys,  ... subtle enemies and false friends, and as little ashamed of defeat as a French admiral or general. We can only hope that she lived to know that the little Billie of her journal became the Captain William Gordon Rutherfurd of the Swiftsure, who, serving with distinction under the great Lord Nelson, took part in the defeat of the hated French at the battle of Trafalgar.
It is in character, too, that she should condemn the radical American colonists as rebels and savages, and be shocked and enraged by some of the events she witnessed in the Cape Fear; for by temperament and education Miss Schaw detested violence and cruelty, advocated the authority both of the family and the state, and cherished always the good form and courtly manners characteristic of the refined society to which she was accustomed. That in social matters she was conservative and valued the conventions of life for society at large, there is ample evidence; though it is also true that, aristocratically, she sometimes claimed exemption for herself, as when she humorously defied custom and drank wine at a ladies’ luncheon in Antigua, or, for purposes of safety and convenience, travelled with Archibald Neilson in Portugal as his wife. Also, she took for granted a certain laxity of morals in her own class, when, for instance, she describes the terror of one of the emigrants, a lovelorn youth, who but for herself and her brother would have fared badly at the hands of an outraged husband, a rough fellow, she calls him, who had not the patience of your husbands of fashion. But her prejudices and points of view, such as they are, only relate her more closely to the very fine type to which she belonged; while her intelligence, kindly human sympathies, and freshness of heart and mind save her from provinciality, and leave on our minds the impression of a truly admirable and delightful woman. A real love of fun and humour and an instinctive passion for fair play—such are the qualities which she shared largely with her brother  Alexander, and of which they both gave evidence again and again during the eventful sixteen months of which the Journal treats. They make a charming picture, this highly bred, high-spirited brother and sister, who faced life wherever it found them with courage and equanimity, good nature and kindliness—he, the educated, intelligent man of affairs, prompt in action, impatient of brutality and injustice, resourceful in emergencies both on land and at sea; she, the candid, warm-hearted, quick-witted woman of the world, a person of very real distinction and charm. Whether or not she was beautiful, we do not know, for although she loves the flower-like beauty of Fanny Rutherfurd and has much to say of the good looks of the men and women of Antigua, she refers to her own appearance but twice: once when she writes jocosely that a passion is begun between Mr. Baird, the collector, and herself, which, as it is not raised on beauty, it is to be hoped will be lasting; and again, when speaking of the masks worn by the ladies of Antigua, she says, As to your humble servant, I have always set my face to the weather, wherever I have been. I hope you have no quarrel with brown beauty. But that she was genial and sociable, liking both men and women and liked by them in return, there is ample proof; and it not surprising that two such visitors as she and her brother Alexander received a warm welcome wherever they went, and that their journey resembled more a royal progress than a tour of ordinary travellers.
But it is not only as a faithful chronicler of what she saw and experienced, or as an interesting and charming woman, that Janet Schaw claims attention, but above all as an artist, as a lover of beauty and form, who uses her masses of material with reserve and discrimination, securing her backgrounds and atmosphere with delicacy and precision, and drawing her figures with swift, sure strokes of her pen. Her imagination plays about the subjects that interest her, and feeling and emotion lift her work above the commonplace  into the realm of artistic achievement. She revels in the smell of the air, as it comes to her warm off the African coast; in the colour and perfume of Mrs. Dunbar’s garden; in the richness and elegance of architecture of churches and houses and public buildings. Picture after picture she paints for us—landscapes of rugged mountains and bleak, barren lands with an almost arctic atmosphere; frightful storms with boats battling for their existence; sea-scapes of tropical islands in an almost motionless ocean, languorous under the rays of a burning sun; vivid little genre pictures of a lady going to a ball dressed out in all her British airs with a high head and a hoop; of emigrants at play in the sunshine on the deck of a sailing vessel; of marvellous banquets where the varieties of food and drink seem infinite in number, and where one is presented with a refreshing liquid in a crystal cup with cover of silver; of slaves going to market in joyful troops, carrying animals and fruits and flowers like a set of devotees going to sacrifice to their Indian gods. Her portrait of the exquisite Lady Belle Hamilton seated in her magnificent hall at Olivees, her handsome young husband near her, and beside her a little mulatto girl dressed out like an infant Sultana possesses in its effects of contrast the quality achieved by Rossetti in his lovely picture of The Bride; whereas in such a description as that of the great storm at sea, when the ship with her sails fluttering in rags was all but lost, our author seems almost inspired.
Miss Schaw knows, also, the uses, for artistic purposes, of fun and humour—broad at times as was characteristic of the period—of balance and rhythm, of imagery, of pathos and emotion, and even of sentimentality, and sketches picture after picture instinct with warmth and colour and motion and the joy of living. Very often, especially in the descriptive parts of her work, and in her characterizations, she suggests her compatriot Stevenson, who might have said of her subjects what he says of Raeburn’s, that the people — who sat for these pictures are not yet ancestors, they are still relations. They are not yet altogether a part of the dusty past, but occupy a middle distance within cry of our affections. Her contribution both to history and to literature is a real one, and so vivid and human are the events and the people she depicts as to make us feel that we have suddenly, and with real understanding, touched hands, as it were, with our forebears of the colonial period.
Before the visitor has been long in the beautiful state of North Carolina, he will have realized, as have the editors of this volume, that from Miss Schaw’s day to our own North Carolina has been one of the great southern triumvirate of states noted for the charm of their climate and scenery and the hospitality of their people. In pursuit of material connected with this Journal the editors have journeyed from Great Britain to North and South Carolina, finding everywhere such generous interest and such a delightful welcome as to make them feel that those who have cooperated in the volume are a veritable band of brother adventurers. Especially are they indebted to Dr. J. Maitland Thomson of Edinburgh, who has contributed genealogical information of great value and photographic copies of letters written by Janet Schaw; and to the present members of the Hewlett family, owners of the fine colonial house of Rockhall, at Lawrence, Long Island, at times the home of the last royal governor of North Carolina, Josiah Martin, who with his father, Colonel Samuel of Antigua, are prominent in the Journal. In North Carolina, they have wandered from Raleigh to the Cape Fear and Albemarle regions, familiarizing themselves with the historical backgrounds of the Journal, and enjoying the innumerable courtesies that the North Carolinian lavishes upon the stranger within his gates. Everywhere have they met with cooperation, but especially have they to thank The North Carolina Society of the Colonial Dames of America, who are contributing financially to  the publication of this volume; Mr. John D. Bellamy, Jr., who has furnished many facts of real value; the late Mr. John G. Wood of Edenton, from whose important collection of papers at Hayes they have obtained much information; and even more particularly Mr. R. D. W. Connor, at that time secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, who not only put at their disposal the manuscript material under his charge, but at every turn helped on the work with real interest and generous assistance. Finally, and with peculiar gratitude, the editors recall the hospitality and cooperation of the late Mr. James Sprunt of Wilmington, himself a Scot, under whose kindly guidance they were able to study Wilmington and the Cape Fear, and to whose memory they dedicate this volume.
Today one perceives very little of the isolation that Janet Schaw felt in Wilmington, now a beautiful city echoing to the hammers of new shipbuilding enterprises that sprang up during the war; but a sail down the Cape Fear River to the plantation of Orton, sole survivor of the many interesting plantations that dotted the Cape Fear in colonial times, recalls her descriptions, and carries one into the heart of what was once old Brunswick, the first settlement that she saw on her arrival in the province. Today all that is left of the original town are the impressive brick ruins of St. Philip’s Church, its roof open to the sky, its fine deep windows framing sunny bits of out of doors, and its nave and aisles picturesquely overgrown with grass and trees. In the old churchyard can be found graves and tombstones that testify to the burial there of some of Janet Schaw’s friends; and starting from the centre of what was once Brunswick Town are here and there magnificent live oaks, still tenacious of life though heavy with years, and clothed in the fantastic moss that adds mystery to their age and beauty. To the north the fine colonial mansion of Orton brightly offers hospitality to the delighted stranger, giving him a  sense of stability and security; but neither the delicious warm sunshine of early spring, nor the odours of sweet-scented flowers and shrubs drifting in from well-kept gardens, nor the drowsy washing of the river along the sandy shore can entirely dispel his fear lest in time the luxuriant jealous forest, which even now threatens to overwhelm both church and churchyard, shall reduce to jungle and obliterate forever the old Brunswick that once knew Janet Schaw.
Evangeline Walker Andrews.
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