Informations Concerning North Carolina
North Carolina Office of Archives & History Department of Cultural Resources
Historical Publications Section The Colonial Records Project
Jan-Michael Poff, Editor
Historical Publications Section
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Informations Concerning the Province of North Carolina Addressed to Emigrants from the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland
by an Impartial Hand, Glasgow, 1773




Eighteenth-century Tracts


There were two distinct waves of emigration from the Scotch Highlands to North Carolina. The first followed the battle of Culloden. Many of those who had taken part in the Rebellion of 1745 were pardoned on condition that they leave the realm; by 1749 more than 1,000 had accepted this condition, and of these many found homes in the upper Cape Fear region of North Carolina. The personal interest of Governor Gabriel Johnston, a Scotchman, in his fellow countrymen and the liberal policy of the Assembly in remitting the taxes of Scotch immigrants for ten years made North Carolina the principal objective of Highland emigration toward the middle of the eighteenth century.

This earlier migration has long had its proper place in North Carolina annals; but of greater proportions, and also less generally appreciated, was a second migration which began in the decade 1760-1770 and lasted until the opening of the Revolution. Its proper background was the change wrought in the social conditions of the Highlands by the policy of the British government after the Rebellion of 1745, especially the abolition of heritable jurisdictions and military tenures, and the prohibition of the traditional Highland costume—measures which greatly weakened the clan as a political and social institution. Commenting on the results of these measures Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote, after his tour of 1773: “There was perhaps never any change of national manners so quick, so great, and so general, as that which has operated in the Highlands by the last conquest.1

The immediate causes of this later migration, however, are to be found in the economic conditions that accompanied the decline of the clan as a political and social unit, and these were threefold.

First was a change in land tenures. Prior to 1745 it was customary for the clan chiefs to mortgage or lease the land, the mortgaged properties being known as wadsets, the mortgagees as wadsetters; and the leased property as tacks, the lessees as tackmen. The wadsetters and tackmen rented the mortgaged or leased land to subtenants and by this system lessees and mortgagees acquired wealth, especially through the cattle trade, which prospered greatly after the Act of Union. But with the abolition of heritable jurisdictions and military obligations which followed the Rebellion, the chiefs sought power in new directions and began to exploit the land. To this end they extinguished the mortgages and leases held by the wadsetters and tackmen and rented directly to the subtenants at higher rates. Thereupon the former lessees and mortgagees turned their eyes to America, where they hoped to establish landed properties with dependent tenants. A propaganda for emigration was carried on; clubs and societies were formed to finance the cause.2

A second cause contributing to emigration was the condition of the laborers and small farmers. Throughout the eighteenth century the Highlands were overpopulated. Agriculture and the arts did not prosper. Upon such a background sheep-growing was introduced, which threw thousands of agricultural workers out of employment and caused the eviction of small tenants. A contemporary correspondent estimated that in Perthshire and Argyllshire alone several hundred families were dispossessed through the conversion of their farms into sheep ranges.3 Here, then, was a body of Scotch willing to colonize—men and families without employment and without hope of a livelihood because of the transition from unprofitable agriculture to pasturage. To them the propaganda of the former wadsetters and tackmen made a deep appeal. And their migration was regarded with favor by the new class of renters because a decline in the number of laborers and small cultivators, it was believed, would result in a lowering of rents. On the other hand, the lordly proprietors believed that emigration would be followed by an increase in rents, because the emigrants would be replaced by renters from the South who were accustomed to paying better rates than had prevailed in the Highlands.

A third cause contributing to unrest and emigration was a crisis in the linen trade, which about 1770 met with severe competition from Ireland. A result was unemployment in the towns. “The wonted wealthy and opulent town of Paisley,” we read, “can not now support those ingenious mechanics who have raised it to its present greatness, but they are forced to abandon their friends and country and seek that subsistence in a distant clime, which they cannot in their own.”4

The social conditions resulting from these economic influences were deplorable. The land was full of people without employment. Crime, especially petty theft, was prevalent. A vivid picture of conditions is given in 1774 by James Hogg, a native of East Lothian, who rented a farm in Caithness. His relations with his landlord were satisfactory, but he lost so much property and so much of his crops through theft that he emigrated to North Carolina, bringing 280 people with him. In reply, probably to an inquiry by British officials concerning the cause and scope of emigration from Scotland, he writes as follows:5

“S I R,

“In answer to the questions you have sent me, in consequence of orders from the board of customs, be pleased to know, That I am forty-four years of age, have a wife, and five children, all under eight years; I am a native of East Lothian, but for some years past have lived at Bolum, in the parish of Reay and county of Caithness, on a farm belonging to Mr. Innes of Sandside.

“Others, with too much justice, complain of arbitrary and oppressive services, of racked rents, and cruel taskmasters; but Mr. Innes, my landlord, did every thing in his power to render my possession convenient and profitable; and in order to engage me to stay, offered me any terms I pleased: and certainly, had my situation in other respects been agreeable, I should not have been easily prevailed upon, with so young a family, and at my time of life, to leave my native country, and expose myself and family to the fatigue and dangers of a long voyage, in order to settle in an unhealthy climate in the woods of North Carolina: but by the barbarity of the country where I lived, I was in a manner forcibly expelled.

“The people in my neighborhood were extremely addicted to theft and pilfering, the constant attendants of slavery and poverty. I was fond of improvements in agriculture: I sowed field-turnips, but they were stolen before they came to perfection: I sowed pease, and was happy if they left me the straw: my potatoes and carrots suffered in like manner: and, in short, I found it impossible to save any thing from their rapacity. I made many attempts, according to my circumstances, to check such misdemeanors: I dismissed from my farm several sub-tenants and servants for trespasses of this kind; but, according to the fashion of that country, in spite of all remonstrances, and without scruple, they were received by others. I then resolved to prosecute criminally the first offender; and it was not long before I had an opportunity: A man of eminence in that way stole a sheep from me, and his examination discovered another renowned thief: I got them both presented, indicted, and tried; the one before Lord Kames, at Inverness, I think in 1766; he was sentenced to be whipped, and then banished the four northern counties [xxviii, 500.].6 A soon as he was set at liberty he returned to my neighborhood; where though he and his connections threatened my life, yet he was protected and sheltered by a gentleman of his name, not from any dislike to me, but in compliance with a popular maxim of that place, that a gentleman ought to protect from punishment all of his name, as well as his tenants and connections, whatever be their crimes. The other culprit, at the succeeding circuit, was sentenced by the Lords Justice-Clerks and Pitfour, to be whipped and banished to the plantations [xxix. 325.]7; but, getting out of the prison at Inverness, he returned to Caithness, where he lives without molestation to this day; as does the other at Strathnaver.

“Thus, after attending two different circuits, at Inverness, and after much trouble and expense, and loss of business, and not being in circumstances to continue a struggle against my licentious neighbours, supported by gentlemen of wealth and influence, I was obliged to sit down quietly with my loss, though highly dissatisfied with my situation, and now more exposed than ever to the resentment of thieves and ruffians.

“To complete my disgust, in the end of 1771 a ship belonging to Liverpool, loaded with iron, deals, and flax, was driven ashore in sight to my house. I thought it my duty to give an active assistance to save the wreck and cargo from plunder; in resentment of which, some of the plunderers combined to destroy me and my family; and to execute their plot, in February 1772, seven desperate ruffians, armed with pistols and dirks, attacked my house in the night-time, and set it on fire in two different places; and, had not some of the family providentially awaked, all must have perished in the flames.—With much difficulty and expence I brought to light the perpetrators of this horrid deed: but, according to the use and wont of that country, a party soon formed to protect them, and the sheriff-substitute, Macleod, the very person who ought to have assisted me, the sheriff-depute being then at Edinburgh, was not ashamed of being their counsellor and agent. However, in spite of many powerful and vigorous efforts, and many uncommon manoeuvres by him and his party to defend them from justice, some of them were brought to trial and condign punishment, and the sheriff-substitute was publicly and severely reprimanded.

“About that time my brother, a merchant in Wilmington, North Carolina, coming to visit me, and making me advantageous offers to go and settle with him, I was easily determined to leave a country, where, for want of police, and due administration of the laws, I had found it impossible to defend my goods from being stolen; where, for an act of justice and humanity, my life was daily exposed to the resentment of murderous ruffians; and where the thief, the robber, the murderer, and wilful fire-raiser, never hitherto wanted a gentleman, or rather a party of gentlemen, to patronize them.—Those gentlemen in Caithness whose judgement and approbation is valuable, will readily acknowledge the truth of what I have set forth; and many of them do lament, that, for these very reasons, their country is spoke of with reproach and detestation, and they have confessed that I had but too much provocation to leave them.—A list of the murders, robberies, and thefts, committed with impunity there, during my residence in Caithness, would surprise a Mohawk or a Cherokee.—Without this detail I could not explain my reasons for emigrating; but such as they are, I have declared them to you with that sincerity and freedom that I think become an honest man, though, I suppose, the length of this letter will prevent them from ever being read.

“With regard to taking so many people with me, I beg leave to observe, that I neither solicited, took advantage of, nor inveigled any person; and that I rejected hundreds who warmly intreated me to find them a passage. I took none excepting my servants, but such as paid their own freight, and had their honesty and character attested by their ministers.—When we were shipped at Thurso our numbers were as follows:

My family, including servants,  . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . .   16
Other passengers above eight years, . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Children under eight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Besides sucking children, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .          30
                                                                      Total 280

“The loss of so many people, and the numbers they may in time draw after them, will probably be missed by the landholders; but let them learn to treat their fellow-creatures with more humanity. Instead of looking on myself as an enemy to my country, in being accessory to the carrying off so many people, I rejoice in being an instrument, in the hand of Providence, to punish oppression, which is by far too general; and I am glad to understand, that already some of these haughty landlords now find it necessary to court and caress these same poor people, whom they lately despised, and treated as slaves or beasts of burden.

                    I am, &c.                                                                      JAMES HOG."
Gardehouse in Zetland, Mar. 29. 1774.

The proportion of the second emigration from the Highlands can only be approximated. The number going to America from 1763 to 1775 is generally estimated at 20,000; in addition many went to the Lowlands and elsewhere. Conservative observers were alarmed at the possible results of this emigration. Too much money was being withdrawn from Scotland and the steady removal of skilled mechanics, it was feared, would in time give America an advantage over the mother country in manufactures.8 It was feared also that the Scots, with grievances in mind concerning conditions in Scotland, would strengthen the radical element in America. In fact, the British government became alarmed and in September 1775 instructions were sent by the commissioners of the customs to the customs officials to give no clearance papers to vessels carrying emigrants bound for the American colonies.9

North Carolina was the favorite objective in the later as well as the earlier Highland migration. To this there are frequent references in the Scots Magazine. Thus we are informed that fifty families left the Highlands for North Carolina in 1768, that 100 more left in 1769, that six vessels with 1,200 emigrants sailed in 1770, and that in 1771, 1772, 1774 and 1775, 1,050 persons undertook the voyage to North Carolina.10 While the migration was at its maximum an unknown author, using the pseudonym “Scotus Americanus,” published in pamphlet form Informations concerning the Province of North Carolina, addressed to emigrants from the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, (1773), which sets forth very briefly the grievances of the Highlanders and at considerable length the attraction of North Carolina to colonizers. A copy of this pamphlet is in the possession of the New York Historical Society and by courtesy of that institution it is herewith reprinted.


1A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, I, p. 127 (edition of 1775).

2“Veritas,” in the Edinburgh Advertiser, quoted in the Scots Magazine May, 1772, p. 697; Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, II, 49-51.

3Scots Magazine, October, 1775, p. 536.

4“Philopatriæ,” in Scots Magazine, January, 1774, p. 64.

5Scots Magazine, July 1774, pp. 345-346; Letter to Mr. Balfour of Trinabay.

6The citation reads as follows: “At Inverness, Lord Kames sole judge. William Morganach, a tenant on the estate of Sandside, was tried, for theft, and for receipting stolen goods; and having been found guilty, was sentenced to be twice whipped, and to be banished the four counties of Caithness, Sutherland, Ross, and Cromarty for life.”

7The reference is to this notation: “At Inverness ... Duncan Macdonald in Coninchan of Glenmoriston, found guilty of stealing a horse, but the mala fama found not proven, and John Bain, alias Miller, in Shiorrirve, in Caithness, found guility of stealing a wedder, and the mala fama found likewise proven, the libel of both having been, of consent of the advocate-depute, restricted to an arbitrary punishment, were both sentenced to be whipped, at Inverness, Macdonald on the 12th and Bain on the 19th of June, each to receive fifty lashes, and to be banished to the plantatinos for fourteen years, their service for the first seven years adjudgd to the person or persons who shall transport them.”

8Scots Magazine, September, 1772, p. 515, and December, 1774, p. 651.

9Scots Magazine, September, 1775, p. 523.

10Ibid., passim.

I  N  F  O  R  M  A  T  I  O  N  S


P  R  O  V  I  N  C  E


N  O  R  T  H     C  A  R  O  L  I  N  A .

Migrations to America from many parts of Britain, particularly to the province of North Carolina, from the Highlands and isles of Scotland, have, of late, become very frequent and numerous, and are likely to continue so. Whatever this may be owing to, the matter is serious, and, to some, the consequences are very alarming. The natives of the Highlands and isles have always been remarkable for the strongest attachment to the place of their nativity, and for the highest respect towards their masters and superiors. In these, they were wont to find kind patrons and protectors, and cherishing, indulgent fathers to themselves and families. This endeared to them a soil and climate to which nature has not been very liberal of its favours, in somuch, that they have ever shewn the utmost aversion at leaving their country, or removing to happier regions, and more indulgent climates. That this is true of the Highlanders in general, will be acknowledged by those who are in the least acquainted with them. The cause, then, that could induce a people of this cast, to forsake their native lands, in such numbers, and make them seek for habitations in countries far distant and unknown, must, doubtless, be very cogent and powerful. And, here, let the present land-holders and proprietors consider, whether, of late, they are not greatly to blame? whether they have not begun to shake [4] the iron rod of oppression too much over them? Let proprietors of the largest estates among them, such whose fortunes enables them to figure it away in life, ask themselves, if they have not used every means to estrange the affections of the Highlanders from them? whether they have not contributed all in their power, and, in a manner, exerted themselves to make their home intolerable and disagreeable to them, and lessen their once strong attachment towards their beloved, though poor country, so as to make them forget their native prejudices, surmount every apparent difficulty, and become emigrants and adventurers to other climes and regions far remote.

The luxury, dissipation, and extravagance of the times, may chiefly account for this change of conduct in the land-holders towards their tenants. Formerly the proprietors resided mostly among them upon their estates, conversed freely, and were familiar with them, were tender of them, cherished, and patronized them; to them the tenants were devoted; to them they had recourse upon every emergency: they were happy, they grew up and prospered under them. The modern lairds, unlike their fore-fathers, live at a great distance from their estates. Whatever misfortunes may befal the tenants, whatever grievances they have to complain of, whatever oppression they may groan under, they have no access to their masters; they scarce know where he lives, or where to find him; or, if they should, it is a long and expensive journey to go where he is; and complaints at a distance are seldom listened to, or properly redressed. Careless and unconcerned the master lives in the circle, as it is called, of the gay and the great. There, is a round of merriment and whim, in a vortex of airy amusements, of giddy and unsubstantial pleasures, and at the height of an [5] expensive, though false and unnatural taste, he squanders away his fortune, and wastes his time and his health at once.

Seldom does he visit his estate, or if he deigns to do it, it is only with an intention to squeeze and oppress the tenants still more, and then betake himself in haste to the same scenes of dissipation and luxury, where, what he has extorted from the over-awed and deluded tenants, soon runs short, and is exhausted. In these visits to their estates, they are commonly attended with minions and sycophants, ever ready to soothe and flatter them, and excite their predominant passions, to the great hurt of the tenants, whom they are taught to look upon, only as instruments whereby to gratify their avarice and extravagance. And when the poor expect relief and protection from their masters, as formerly, they find every avenue and all access to them shut up, or, if admitted into their presence, they find such an awful distance and state kept, that they are spurned away with looks expressive of the utmost contempt, or dismissed with a volley of oaths and curses, in a language strange and unknown to the most of them.

These gentlemen too, accustomed to live in large and wealthy cities, or in the most fertile and best cultivated provinces of Britain, are greatly shocked, in their visits, at the rude aspect, and steril face of the Highlands, and at the small progress that agriculture makes in these remote parts. The natives are exclaimed against, as an intractable, idle, and useless set of beings. Without means, without encouragement, at a distance from market, against climate, and soil too, in many places, it is expected of them, that they should cultivate and enclose wide extended heaths, rugged mountain, and large barren morasses. [6] But, may it not be asked, if the proprietors themselves have shewn any extraordinary specimen or examples of this sort among them? have they done any thing effectual towards bringing on, or establishing fisheries, trade, or manufactories on their estates? Such of them as do improve and enclose their ground, is it not at an immense expence, far beyond the reach of most tenants in the Highlands? Are not these things carried on from father to son, through a long tract of time? And, in general, may it not be asked, whether much advantage has, as yet, been made of them? and whether they are not still at a very low pass over all the Highlands? But, at any rate, can it be expected, that tenants, upon short leases, can do any thing remarkable in this way, especially at this period, when, instead of that tender indulgence and encouragement requisite to bring forward agriculture in a country still lying in a state of nature, nothing is heard of but new impositions, new grassums, and a rise of rent equal to, if not beyond, what the gross produce of the ground can amount to? But if, in the opinion of these gentlemen, the native Highlanders are deemed so useless and lazy a people at home, why is any bar attempted to be thrown in the way of their emigrating from their native country? why rather not contribute to send them off, in order to make room for another “set of tenants more able and industrious, that will soon make the “country put on a different aspect, that, by dint of labour or magic, “shall make their barren wastes, and heath grown mountains, rival, “in verdure and produce, the fertile plains of Lothian, or the “Carse of Falkirk;” tenants that can bear any load laid upon them by their tender-hearted landlords, with chearfulness, and without murmuring? What a happiness for these needy and arbitrary [7] lairds to rule over a parcel of such tame and passive subjects?

But, in the name of wonder! why are such low arts used to hinder the Highlanders from quitting their country? why so much ridicule thrown on America? why so many false representations, and discouraging accounts given of it, in the public papers? and, when these seem to be disregarded, and of no effect, why is recourse had to the daring effrontery of some puny scribbler, to threaten the interferance of administration against depopulating the Highlands, and that a parliamentary inquiry was to be made, to prevent any more emigrations, as if the Highlanders were totally ignorant of the world, and of the laws of their country? The Highlanders are not to be intimidated by bugbears; nor are they so little versant in the history and constitution of their country, as not to know that they are free born, and that they have a right to emigrate into any part of the British dominions that they chuse. Such mean hints, and despotic notions, might well enough suit the meridan of Moscow, or of Paris, during the reigns of Peter the Great, or Lewis XIV. How fatal to France was the oppression and persecution of the Huguenots? what a reproach to the memory of Lewis? and how vain were his severe edicts, and all his endeavours, to prevent their emigrating from that country? are facts too well known and ascertained. What igornance, then, of the laws and constitution of Britain, do writers of this stamp betray? how unworthy are they of the protection and blessing of these laws? what friends are they to domestic tyranny and private oppression, when they thus talk of getting them sanctified, and our chains fastened and rivetted by the authority of a British legislature. It is indeed astonishing, how far ignorance, partiality, and [8] prejudice, will often carry people. But, surely, it must be a new thing in these enlightened times, for one to publish such glaring absurdities, such grovelling sentiments, concerning the right of British subjects to change their place of settlement under the same happy government. None but a rapacious, despotic land-holder, or his greedy, disappointed factor, or agent, could be capable of it. Theirs, then, be all the praise of this generous and well-timed suggestion! theirs also be the glory of falling upon those lucky expedients, by which the Highlanders are forced from their dwellings, and reduced to the hard necessity of making use of emigrating from their country, which, by all laws, human and divine, they know they are, and ought to be possessed of!

A moderate rise of rents, is what every proprietor has a right to expect, at certain periods of time, in a country advancing in agriculture, trade, and manufactures. How far back the Highlands in general are, in these respects, is too obvious to the view of every visiting traveller: yet no set of people would be more disposed, or ready to give additional rents, and grassums, than the Highlanders, according to their circumstances; for they commonly think it a hardship to change their master, and look upon it as worse than banishment to be obliged to quit the spot where they and their fore-fathers have lived. Some of their land-holders, not ignorant of the prejudices and strong attachments of this sort that prevail among them, and prompted by their own avarice or extravagance, both equally insatiable, have laid down schemes for raising their lands to three or four rents, with grassums. Some of the poor tenants were over-awed, and some others deluded, to take their lands at this immense rise, and, having scarce stood it two years, have become bankrupts [9] and beggars. Thus, though they and their fore-fathers might have formerly lived easy, and made some small provision for their families, they are now, by one sweep of grassum and additional rent, reduced, at once, to the lowest state of indigence.

It is a well known and received maxim, in farming, that the gross produce of the land should be, at least, equal to three of the current rents, or by what means shall the farmer support himself? But, in these modern schemes, this maxim is quite laid aside, and another of a very different and strange complexion is attempted to be substituted in its place, viz. “That the more rent is laid upon any “farm, the better shall the tenant be able to improve the land, to pay “his rent, and to live well, than when he paid a small rent.” In conformity to this refined maxim, some of these gentlemen set part of their lands, and soon found their expectations disappointed. With true tyrannic perseverance, they have tried one set of tenants after another, by the same rule, and have seen them all beggared in their circumstances. When they perceived some tenants of more spirit than the rest, discover an impatience of the oppressions they bore, throw up their tacks, convert the remainder of their subject into cash and attempted to try their fortunes in another country, and open a door for themselves and friends in a land of liberty and plenty, by a few going this year, 1770, and numbers following the next; then it was, that these gentlemen, with their wonted candour, began to entertain the public with exclaiming against all emigrations in general, with running down a country and its climate, both of which they are equally unacquainted with, by giving false accounts of it, depreciating its produce, its customs, and its trade, though utter strangers [10] to them all. How eagerly do they catch at any discouraging tale, picked up from some sailor or skipper that has but touched on the coast of North Carolina, though at a great distance from our Highland settlers in that province, and having never had any intercourse with them, who wanted both understanding and opportunity to judge properly of their advantages and mode of living? how ready are they to publish these vague and indistinct accounts as ample and satisfactory? But all ship-masters are not of the same cast; some there are who have penetrated among the Highland settlers there, who formerly knew their situation in their own country, and can do justice to that state of ease and happiness in which they now live. Nay, I am well aware, that some few among the Highland gentlemen are no strangers to the truth of what is reported concerning North Carolina; and that, if they would speak out, they know it to be a country no way inferior to what it is represented. Some of them were officers in America, and our common men served as soldiers there during the last war, and both acquired immortal honour. It would seem as if they had made such important conquests in that quarter of the globe, in order to secure to themselves, and their countrymen, an agreeable and happy retreat, and, a large and fertile field for them and their posterity to flourish in. To such as are unprejudiced among them, we might appeal for the truth of the most flattering accounts of North America in general; but, pudet hoc opprobrium, they disguise or conceal what they know of it; self-interest biasses them, and makes them suppress the truth, till it is now too late to do so; it is in vain to carry on the farce, for the truth will remain no longer concealed.

And now, is there any wonder, if, under their present [11] discouraging circumstances, and considering the dark and gloomy prospects they have before them at home, that the Highlanders should seek for refuge in some happier land, on some more hospitable shore, where freedom reigns, and where, unmolested by Egyptian taskmasters, they may reap the produce of their own labour and industry. For this purpose, where can they better betake themselves than to the large continent of America, to that part of it especially, to which some of their countrymen went sometime ago, where their posterity still live well and independently, and to which, of late, numbers have gone, who shew no inclination to return; but, on the contrary, send the most favourable accounts to their friends and acquaintance in the Highlands, and the most pressing invitations for them to follow after them across the Atlantic. Here they still belong to the British empire, and are happy under the benign influence of its administration. Here, at ease, they may enjoy all those civil blessings which the noblest constitution under heaven was intended to communicate to all ranks belonging to it, and to make these blessi[n]gs permanent and sure.

In the following pages, I mean to give my countrymen a short sketch of the province of North Carolina, with regard to its climate, soil, produce, and manner of settling there, founded upon unquestionable evidence, as well as personal observation, by which it will appear how little credit is due to the ridiculous and discouraging accounts given in the public papers, at the desire of some of the landholders, by which also will be shewn, that of all our colonies it is the most proper for Highlanders of any degree to remove to, if they want to live in a state of health, ease, and independence. No circumstance shall be exaggerated, as it is not intended to deceive or mislead any person; the simple truth shall be told, and [12] let facts be judged of as they really are. And as no man would chuse to be deceived himself, nor would any honest man impose upon others, conscious no charge of this kind can justly be laid against me, when I fairly lay before the world, and my countrymen, the present situation of that province, in the above respects, by which I candidly own, that I myself am swayed, and led to risque my all, and fix my residence there for life. Whether others shall follow my example or whether matters shall strike them in the same light, is what I know not, nor am I much solicitous about; but, in justice to a country so falsely arraigned, so undeservedly depreciated and ridiculed, I venture this brief account under the eye of the public, and as it may be supported by the concurring testimony of many gentlemen of repute and credit who have been among our settlers in North Carolina, who were at pains to be thoroughly acquainted with their method of settling, mode of living, and every thing relating to them. To shew that they have made a happy exchange, and no people can be in more easy circumstances, or better satisfied with their present condition, I might appeal to numberless letters from those very settlers, to their friends and acquaintance in the Highlands, which may be easily seen, and might, if necessary, be produced. In these letters, we find parents inviting over children that were left behind, children their parents, husbands their wives and families, and brothers their sisters, all describing their state there, as far preferable to what they ever knew before in every respect; and earnestly wishing their relations and connections of every tender tie would go and partake of the fame happiness, and no longer remain under home oppression. Surely, if these people, artless and undesigning as they are, could mean to deceive, it must be reckoned a very uncommon and most unnatural [13] deception; nor will it be easy to explain how they should all conspire in the same tale, and, without varying, stumble upon the same favourable accounts.

That these accounts are genuine and true, we hope, will appear from the following general description of the province in question, in which all that is intended, is to lay before my countrymen things most essential for them to know, without launching into the favourite topics of mere travellers, or attending to an exact form and method, like writers on geography.

North Carolina lies between 31 and 36 degrees, and 31 miles N. Lat. 76 and 19 W. Long. from London on the east, it is bounded by the Atlantic ocean, and has about 400 miles of sea coast; on the north it boarders with Virginia, and on the south with South Carolina; but its boundaries to the west are unknown and unlimited. It surrounds a part of South Carolina, extending itself, on that side to places as yet unvisited, which are inhabited by Indian tribes. The climate is agreeable and wholesome in general; and, compared with the rest of the northern hemisphere, may be looked upon as the most temperate part of the earth on the north side of the equator. It agrees, in general, with that of Virginia; but where they differ, it is much to the advantage of Carolina. The summers are warmer than in Virginia; but the winters are milder and shorter; nor are there such sudden transitions from heat to cold, nor such violent extremes as in Virginia. The winters are seldom severe enough to freeze any considerable body of water, and affect only the mornings and evenings, when the air is felt as sharp as in the Highlands; but the frosts have seldom strength to resist the noon-day sun; so that many tender plants, that do not stand the winter of Virginia, flourish here. The sky in winter is commonly clear and serene, and no [14] deep snow is to be seen. The climate in summer is said, by people of observation, to resemble that of Italy and Lisbon, and indeed they lye in pretty near the same latitude. Many are made to believe, that in Carolina, as in Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, the whole year is one continual summer; but this is a mistake; they have the four revolving seasons as in Britain; the transitions to each are gentle and imperceptible. In the months of March, April, and May, their spring, all things are alive; the birds make the woodlands ring with mirth; and the kingdom of vegetables, under the Divine care, springing forth in rich profusion, adorning gardens and meadows with gay and glowing colours; the trees produce their buds and foliage, promising rich fruits in their appointed seasons; and no place can exhibite a richer carpet, and more beautiful verdure. The jessamin, the laurel, the bay, the sassafras, the pines, the honeysuckle, the dogwood, and most kinds of shrubs, enrich the air with their fragrant odours, and the woods are covered with the greatest variety of flowers and blossoms. The mariners, going upon the coast in spring, have smelt the pines when several leagues at sea. About this time the farmer sees his work begin to prosper, and his industry rewarded.

The summer, which is in the months of June, July, and August, may indeed be called hot; the mercury, in an approved thermometer, keeping up from 70 to 80 degrees at noon. Near the coast, and in the sandy parts, the heat would be intolerable, were it not for the breezes, which come from the sea; but, by not exposing the body to the warm sun-beams at noon, a man may always keep himself cool and comfortable in the hottest day; the houses are built airy, so that they always have a cool room to go into. Up the country, and on river sides, the warmth is less intense, the soil being deep and moist, and covered [15] with verdure; nor does the heat hinder people to travel easily and comfortably the whole day in summer, as they go over a level country under the shade of lofty trees in the woods, which are widely separated, and clear of under-wood. The longest day in Carolina, the sun rises at four, and sets after eight.

September, October, and November, are the autumn months; the first of which, together with part of August, are their rainy and windy months; but, in the month of October, there cannot be a more temperate air, and finer climate, than here, the weather being mild and dry for the space of forty or fifty days.

In the low and marshy parts of the country, the inhabitants, particularly new-comers, are apt to fall into those diseases incident to a moist climate, especially in July and August, when the weather is hottest, and the air becomes stagnant; and, in September, when the weather changes, and the rains fall heavy; then, I say, they are subject to agues, fluxes, and intermitting fevers; but these do not prove mortal; and, in general, it is allowed, that the inhabitants are not affected by any particular distemper, except such as proceed from intemperance, and a neglect of themselves upon their first arrival. The dropsy is very rare; as for consumptions, they are not very destructive; perhaps it may carry off a person in nine or ten years; and that dreadful complaint an asthma, is not known, unless brought from other places; in which case, the climate affords great relief to the afflicted. The three remaining months are the winter season: the air is serene, the weather dry and wholesome, and intensely cold but for a short time; the mercury in the thermometer being all the winter between 30 and 50 degrees, and, when carried into the open air, has never been known to sink lower than 20 degrees. The shortest [16] day, the sun rises half an hour before six, and sets at five. At this season, the country is very agreeable to sportsmen, having plenty of all sorts of game in the greatest perfection; such as deer, which are as numerous as sheep in Scotland; wild turkeys, in flocks, throng as rooks or crows, and weighing about thirty pounds, which shews they are of a large size; geese and ducks, of which last great quantities are taken; eight or ten, when fitting, is but a middling shot. There are also great quantities of partridges, doves, larks, woodcocks, snipes, plovers, and blackbirds, besides a great number of sea fowl; and in the back woodlands, where the chestnut grows, they have the pheasant and the peacock.

This colony is but in a manner in its infancy, and newly settled in respect to its neighbouring ones. There is a great coincidence between the soil, produce, and face of the country with those of Virginia; but, in the fertility of nature, Carolina has the advantage. In a word, the northern parts of it produce the same things with the southern parts of Virginia, and in greater perfection. The southern parts of it produce the same things with which the northern parts of South Carolina abounds; and, as in the back parts it skirts or runs along a great part of South Carolina, the produce is much the same as in that country and is conveyed by rivers or land carriage to Charlestoun, and other ports of that province for sale. Its commodities and general produce are very valuable, consisting of rice, indico, hemp, tobacco, fir, deer skins, turpentine, pitch, tar, raw hides, tanned leather, flower, flax-seed, cotton, corn, pease, pottatoes, honey, bees-wax, Indian corn, barrelled beef and pork, tallow, butter, rosin, square timber of different sorts, deals, staves, and all kind of lumber. This short description will not admit of entering into the manner in which the above commodities [17] are cultivated; but the late settlers there from the Highlands are assiduous in their employments; and this, joined with the hospitality, friendship and harmony, that subsists among them in general, from whatever country, cannot fail, in a short time, of making the province flourish, and of rewarding their labour with independence and wealth, the offspring of ingenuity and industry.

The province is divided into several counties, and intersected by many large navigable rivers; the chief rivers are, Albemarle, Pentaguen, Neuse, Cape Fear or Clarendon, Watere, Santee, Pedee, &c. The only sea bordering on this coast is the Atlantic ocean, which is reckoned shallow for ships of burden to come nigh the coast, except in few places. The coast is low land, and the shallows come on gradually, so that, by sounding, it is easily known when vessels are near enough, so as to make for their destined harbours, which are now found to be equally convenient with the most noted in other provinces, and they are also seated at proper distances along the coast: it is true, that hitherto they have been looked upon as incommodious, but, from the increase and goodness of the commodities raised in the colony, ships begin to find their way with ease, and many ports are frequented with ships from a great part of the trading world. The harbours of Roanack and Pimlico are famous and well known: many others are good and safe. The most remarkable promontories are Cape Hatteras, in 35 degrees N. Lat. and Cape Fear to the south of it. At the mouth of the river here, vessels of large burden have ready access; and this is the principal and most centrical river in the province for trade. From the entrance of Fort-Johnston to Brunswick, the former seat of the governors, it is 12 miles up the river, from thence to Wilmington about 15 miles. Wilmington is well situated for trade, as it lies at the confluence of [18] two large branches of Cape Fear river, by which means all commodities from the southern and middle parts of the province centre there; consequently it is, of late, become a place of elegance and wealth: there are many eminent merchants there, and much shipping from the neighbouring colonies, from the West Indies and Britain; so that, for commerce, and a well furnished market of all necessaries, it is at present reckoned the most flourishing, and is still greatly increasing. Here the river is as broad as the Thames at London. The north-west branch of this river, along which I travelled, is navigable about 40 miles above Wilmington for large vessels; but long boats, lighters, and large canoes, carry goods for above 100 miles farther up. On this north-west branch of the same river, lies Cross Creek, or New Campbeltoun, about 100 miles distant from Wilmington in the course of the river. This town is situated in Cumberland county, and the inhabitants mostly Highlanders, emigrants from Argyleshire, and the western isles, are settled in said county. The land, in general, along the sea coast, is light and sandy, and promises little in appearance to a stranger; it is, however, of a generous nature, and helped by a kindly sun, yields corn and tobacco extremely well, and, when flooded, yield rice plentifully. But, along the sides of rivers and creeks, there is a fine black mold, and rich soil, for about a mile and a half back from either bank of the river, which, without manure, returns plentifully whatever is committed to it. This good soil spreads still wider, and improves continually, as you advance into the country, and then it is uniformly good and fertile for immense tracts of land. The whole country is in a manner one forest, where our planters have not cleared it. And at a 100 miles from the sea, where it begins to grow hilly, and mixed with rising grounds, [19] the soil is of an amazing fertility, fitted for every purpose of human life. Nor can any thing be imagined more pleasant to the eye; than the variegated appearance of this back country. The air is here pure and wholesome, and the heat in summer much more temperate than on the flat sandy coast. It is diversified in the most agreeable manner, with arable lands, meadows, and woods; here and there appear rising hills; and its forests abound with excellent timber, such as oak of several sorts, cyprus, hickory, the pine, the walnut, the ash, the poplar, the beech, the elm, the sycamore, the laurel, the bay, the gum, and the mulberry, with many others not mentioned. This furnishes the inhabitants with plenty of fire-wood, and the best of timber for ship-building and other uses. The woods in general wear a refreshing vedure through the year: and the earth is rendered rich and delightful by the fine rivers and streams which glide through them. Where I travelled, the banks of the rivers from Wilmington to far above Cross Creek, were agreeably adorned with fine seats, villas, and pleasant farm-houses, at moderate distances, on either side, which afforded a most enchanting scene of the ease and happiness which the present settlers enjoy: and, in general, most of the present planters may be said to have a river at their door, and easy conveyance for their commodities to market.

The land in Carolina is easily cleared, as there is little or no under wood, and the woods mostly consist of tall trees, at a considerable distance; and, by the different species of these, the quality of the soil is easily known. The grounds which bear the oak, the walnut, and the hickory, are reckoned the best; they are of a dark sand intermixed with loam. The pine barren is worst, being almost all sand; yet it bears the pine tree, and some useful plants, naturally yielding good profit in pitch, tar, and turpentine. When this sort of land is cleared, which is done very easily, it produces [20] for two or three years together, very good crops of Indian corn and pease; and, when it lies low, and is flooded, it answers for rice. Their low rich swampy grounds bear rice, which is one of their staple commodities. It is, as before observed, that on the sides of the rivers, all the good timber, and large useful trees, are found in abundance; behind these stretches of good land, the country is covered with pines and firs, from which tar, turpentine, and rosin are made, and for which articles there is a fund inexhaustible for many years. In the forests, the trees are far separate, as I observed, and free of shrubs and under-wood; they are lofty, and very straight, so that a person may ride through them, in any direction, without danger or inconveniency. I have seen the inhabitants hunting foxes, bears, and deer, through the woods, galloping very hard. Nothing surprises an European more, at first sight, than the size of the trees here, and in other American colonies. Their trunks are often from 50 to 70 feet high, without a limb or branch, and frequently above 30 feet in circumference, of which the natives and Indians make canoes, some of them so large, that they will carry 30 or 40 barrels of pitch, though formed of one entire piece of timber. Curious pleasure-boats are likewise made of these. Vegetation is amazingly quick in this province; the soil, in general, will produce most things; the climate has something so kindly, that the soil, when left to itself, throws out an immense quantity of flowers and flowering shrubs. All kinds of European grain grow there, such as barley, wheat, oats and rye, clover and lucern grass. Plants from Europe arrive at perfection here, beyond what they do in their native country. Wine and silks with proper culture, might be had here. For variety of roots and herbs, I believe, it rivals any country. The sassafras, sarsaparilla, the China root, the Indian pink, the golden rod, the horoun, and the snake root of various sorts, are [21] natives here, and found scattered through the woods, together with other medicinal and aromatic herbs. There is a kind of tree, from which runs an oil of an extraordinary virtue for curing of wounds, and another that yields a balm thought to be little inferior to that of Mecca. Besides these, there are other trees that yield gums, liquorice, rhubarb; and other physical roots are found to thrive extremely well. The power of vegetation has been found so great, that a peach tree will bear in three years after putting of the stone into the ground. The fig-tree will bear two crops in the year, of large and luscious fruit. Melons, the Canada peach, and the white common peach, grow well and large, as do grapes, and all kinds of fruit, (except currants, goose-berries, and the red cherry) from the small cherry to the large melon, nothing can be more luscious. The fruit here has such a delicious flavour, that they who once taste of it, will despise the watery taste of that in Britain, where fruit-trees are not natural to the soil. Prodigious quantities of honey are found here, of which they make excellent spirits, and mead as good as Malaga sack. It is incredible to think what plenty of fish is taken both in their salt and fresh water rivers, which fisher-men sell for a trifle. The fish most admired are the whiting, the angel fish, the king fish, the fat-back, the forgey, the fresh water trout, and the rock fish. Neither herring, turbot, or salmon, can exceed these in richness and delicious taste. Oysters too of a fine flavor are got in the rivers, and on the coast. With all these kinds of fish the market at Wilmington abounds. Here, one may buy all kinds of meats, from the squirrel and opposum to the bullock, and all very good, nothing in England coming up to their pork. Beef and pork is sold from 1d. to 2d. a pound, their fattest pullets at 6d. a piece, chickens at 3 s. a dozen, geese at 10 d. turkeys at 18 d. a piece. But fish and wild fowl are still cheaper in [22] their seasons; and deer are sold from 5 to 10s. a piece. Merchants in the town, and considerable planters in the country, are now beginning to have a taste for living, and some gay equipages may be seen; they are generous, well bred, and dress much; are polite, humane, and hospitable; and never tired of rendering strangers all the service in their power: nor is this mere pageantry and shew; their behaviour at home is consistent with their appearance abroad. Their houses are elegant, their tables always plentifully covered and their entertainment sumptous. They are fond of company, living very sociable and neighbourly, visiting one another often. Poverty is almost an entire stranger among them, as the settlers are the most hospitable and charitable people that can be met with to all strangers, and especially to such as by accident or misfortunes are rendered incapable to provide for themselves.

The method of settling in Carolina, is to find out a space of King’s land, or unpatented land, and to get an order from the governor, which order is given to a surveyor; when the survey is finished, he draws a plan of that space of land, which plan is returned into the office for recording patents, &c. then he gets his patent or right signed by the governor, which is good for ever after; the expence of all this is commonly about ten guineas, and sometimes not so much: supposing the run of land taken up be 640 acres, only there is 2s. and 6d. quit rents paid yearly for the hundred acres.

Besides the Highlanders that are settled in Cumberland county, some late emigrants have betaken themselves to Anson county, which abounds in good ground. In these counties, former settlers dispose of plantations, with some open ground upon them, to new-comers, and retire farther back into the country. Plantations of about 3 quarters of a mile square, have been sold for between 40 and 50£. [23] which produce indico, tobacco, cotton, rice, wheat, Indian corn, barley, rye, and oats without ever being dunged; for, as all the land abounds with nitre, it is a long time before it is exhausted, and they use no manure. I have been informed, that if a settler can keep three servants or negroes clearing his grounds for two years, he may sell 700 bushels of wheat, and 5000 weight of tobacco for every year afterwards, besides many other articles. Two men and four horses will work a large plantation in their best land, after cleared. They often plow with one horse. Wheat is sown in October and November, and some in March. They plant Indian corn and tobacco between April and May. Some lands give three crops in the year. They sow flax-seed the first of March, which they pull the first of May; then they plant the ground with corn, which is ripe the latter end of September, and then sow it with turnip for the winter, which grow very large. The worst growth of Indian corn in good land is 200 bushels for every bushel sown, the best betwixt 4 and 500 for one. The sowing of 2 or 3 bushels of this grain is as much as any planter can attend to; for, in summer, it must be plowed and howed 2 or 3 times, to keep down the weeds, especially in fat ground. Settlers of any substance, when they go over, commonly take up a piece of ground of 640 acres, or a mile square in the plains, or on river sides. At the back of these settlements it is all a common, that is unpatented, or King’s lands, till you come nigh another river or creek. The commons are mostly hilly and unbroken ground, and not likely to be soon occupied or taken up; so that the cattle of the neighbouring plantations and farms feed and wander over large tracts without interfering with any body’s property, and they are not restricted to any number. I may here observe, that there were neither horses, cows, sheep, or hogs, in America, till carried thither by the Europeans; and now they are multiplied so extremely, [24] that many of them are allowed to run wild in some provinces. Here the settlers have plenty of all European animals. To have 2 or 300 cows is very common; some have 1000 and upwards. I knew a few planters who had 500 calves in a season, and some have more. In the months of May, June, and July, they gather all their cattle into one place on the great common; they range all day at pleasure through the forest; but the calves are separated, and kept in fenced pastures. In these months they make their butter and cheese, and mark all their young cattle, (for each has a particular mark given him by the province, and this mark is recorded) and then they are turned loose into the common again till that time twelve months, except a few milk cows for their families. The cattle here are of a tame breed; and if any of them should stray 100 miles, they are advertised, and returned to the owner, being known by the mark; so that few of them are lost. Their size is larger than that of any cows in the Highlands; fat ones weigh well, and give a good price. It is computed, that from this province there are annually drove to Virginia about 30000 head of black cattle, without mentioning hogs, besides large quantities sold to vessels in their own ports, together with great cargoes of beef, pork, live stock, and all sorts of grain, constantly sent to the Bahama isles and the West Indies. The whole expence of taking up such a run of land as I have mentioned, I mean 640 acres for a plantation to a new settler, will not exceed 10 guineas, between patent, surveyor, and the different offices; a genteel treat is all that is often taken. The most of their labour and toil, then, consists in opening and clearing their grounds, which, as I have observed, is not such a heavy or laborious work, as the trees are far asunder, and there are few shrubs, and no under-growth, and the nature of the soil is loose, and free of stones or any rocks. If one gets 70 [25] or 80 acres once opened upon his plantation, it is sufficient for the support and employment of any single family.

Young healthy negroes are bought there for between 25 and 40 £. Five of these will clear and labour a plantation the first year, so as you shall have every thing in abundance for your family, with little trouble to yourself, and be able to spare many articles for market; to which every year again, as the ground advances in being cleared, you may send great quantities of flower, flax-seed, indico, rice, butter, tallow, pease, potatoes, live stock, pork, beef, and tobacco. And I cannot help mentioning here, the happiness in which blacks live in this and most of the provinces of America, compared to the wretchedness of their condition in the sugar islands. Good usage is what alone can make the negroes well attached to their masters interest. The inhabitants of Carolina, sensible of this, treat these valuable servants in an indulgent manner, and something like rational beings. They have small houses or huts, like peasants, thatched, to which they have little gardens, and live in families separated from each other. Their work is performed by a daily task, allotted by their master or overseer, which they have generally done by one or two o’clock in the afternoon, and have the rest of the day for themselves, which they spend in working in their own private fields, consisting of 5 or 6 acres of ground, allowed them by their masters, for planting of rice, corn, potatoes, tobacco, &c. for their own use and profit, of which the industrious among them make a great deal. In some plantations, they have also the liberty to raise hogs and poultry, which, with the former articles, they are to dispose of to none but their masters (this is done to prevent bad consequences) for which, in exchange, when they do not chuse money, their masters give Osnaburgs, negro cloths, caps, hats, handkerchiefs, pipes, and knives. They do not plant in their fields for subsistence, but for [26] amusement, pleasure, and profit, their masters giving them clothes, and sufficient provisions from their granaries. The immense increase of India corn furnishes plenty for hogs and horses. The breed of horses here is much the same with that of Virginia, hardy and spirited; they easily break to the saddle, and are bred to pacing; and, as the country is level, and free of stones, and the roads soft and good, they perform great journies in the day, and travel pleasantly. A horse that would give 12 £. in Britain, may be bought at 8 £ and so in proportion to their size and value. From 4 to 6 £. is a common price for a working horse. Every planter has abundance of sheep of an excellent kind, which bear good wool; the new emigrants spin and dress it, and get it made into course cloths and kerseys for their common wear: this manufacture must rise in time. The new emigrants settling up the country are far more industrious than the old settlers or natives; they may live as well and happy as lairds at home. It is computed by people of judgment and observation, that if a person can carry 500 £ cash with him into that country, he may live as easily as a proprietor of 500 £ a-year in Scotland, as to the necessaries and conveniencies of life, and so in proportion to the stock he carries over, and his prudence and management in laying it out. It is not pretended, that they, all at once, can enjoy life in the same taste and elegance as they do in Scotland. Mean time they have abundance, nay affluence, and enjoy independence, which, we all know, is a great sweetener of life and every blessing, and makes up for many superfluous refinements in what is called polite society; and it is universally allowed that the civil arts of life soon take place, and flourish, where mankind become numerous, and are blessed, at once, with affluence, independence and ease; many of the old residenters in the inland counties of this province finding themselves soon easy and independent, and [27] being far separated, and not linked together by country, or a close neighbourhood, have become idle, lazy, and much devoted to sport and hunting; and, perceiving that many new settlers are, of late, come among them, they foresee that the deer and other game must, consequently, become scarcer; and they have, in general, little inclination to mingle with the new-comers, who now arrive in such crouds: they also know, that the farther they go back into the country, the land turns richer and better; on these accounts, they willingly quit and sell their present settlements along the rivers, and nearest the coast, to new-comers, some of them induced, merely, by the love of hunting, others from prudential considerations, because of the fertility and pleasantness of the country backwards, and the the ease with which it may be wrought and cleared. One of these plantations, consisting of 640 acres, and 70 or 80 acres of it clear, with a good mansion-house, and all necessary office-houses upon it, may be purchased for 160 £. I have seen one of not much less extent bought for 60 £. and the very first year the purchaser made 11 hogsheads of brandy of the peaches and apples in his garden, and some cyder, besides what he disposed of in cattle, grain, and live stock. Here a poor man need not fear the want of meat or employment, most victuals being very cheap. From the granaries, on the farms, a man for 6d. Sterl. may buy what will maintain him 8 days, at 3 meals a-day; and, if he carries over with him, as much coarse cloth and linnen, as will serve him for a year or two, he needs not doubt of soon being well fixed, and at ease for the rest of his life. A friend of mine, a few years ago, carried over passengers to Cape Fear; among these there were many poor people unable to pay for their passage, who therefore went as redemptioners; that is, if in 40 days after landing, they could not find money among their friends or acquaintance, or by some shift of their own, to pay for their passage, [28] they were then bound to serve for 3 years after landing; there was none of them but relieved themselves before the time; many of them having no friend or acquaintance in the place, got people there to take them by the hand, and pay for their passage, and soon fixed them in such a manner, as that they had plenty to live on; the present situation of the colony will easily account for this; a number of the first settlers there, and of the late emigrants, who have made any considerable purchase, have large tracts of land lying waste and uncleared for want of hands; they have a good part of a plantation open, with some servants and negroes upon it, by which they raise great stores of provisions, and they have plenty of cattle; the owner of an estate, that has 80 or 90 acres open upon it, has a scope of many hundreds, some of thousands of acres, equally good with his open ground, but not cleared for want of hands; these settlers are continually on the watch for new emigrants, and engage as many of them as they can to fix upon some of their wood-lands, for clearing part of them; these are supplied with plenty of provisions the first 12 months, and have permission to sell as much tar, turpentine, and staves, as they please, for their own use; they are furnished with all implements for clearing the ground, and improving it; negroes are often given them to assist them; then they get so many milk-cows, so many hogs to breed, &c. they sow Indian corn and other grain for their own use; their task is to attend to the rearing of cattle, and breeding of hogs, and to take care that they clear, properly, as much ground as they and their families, with the assistance of negroes, are able; for their trouble, they have from the owner the 3d part of whatever the land so cleared produces, the 3d bushel of whatever grain, the 3d calf, the 3d pig, &c. This is a great spur to their diligence, and an ample reward for their toil, which is far from severe, and soon puts the new-comer in condition [29] to plant lands for himself; and he frequently gets free land of his own from his master, contiguous to the estate he has wrought upon; so that in a few years, a poor man, with a throng family, may work himself into affluence, and lands of his own, and have plenty wherewith to stock it at once, and with little trouble may increase it every year. From all which it is plain, that no person can be in want for any time; nor are beggars or vagrants to be seen in that country. The poorest set of people whom I saw there, are such as ply as sailors, or watermen rather, on boats and lighters, up and down the rivers: they are generally drunkards, and can be of little use in any other way; yet these get half-a-crown a-day, and 3 gallons of rum per week. Upon the whole, it is the best country in the world for a poor man to go to, and do well. The settlers far back in the province; who are at a distance from a river, send their goods for market in large waggons to the town of Cross Creek, where may be seen 40 or 50 of them in a day, and these waggons belong to the planters themselves. At this place, the merchants of Wilmington have stores and agents to buy and lay up the goods; and they are conveyed by water to Wilmington in this manner: these merchants, or the settlers along the river, make large rafts of timber, as is common in Holland; upon these they lay their beef, pork, and flower, in barrels, also their live stock, Indian corn, raw hydes, butter, tallow, and whatever they have for market: boats and canoes always accompany these rafts: on these, again, are brought up the river whatever goods are taken in exchange. The planters dispose of their goods to merchants in town, or to ships at Wilmington, where there are many now from Britain, the West Indies, and the different colonies; to these they sell their goods, and in return, bring back sugar, rum, salt, iron, &c. and the rest in cash. The credit of the Highlanders, though but lately gone thither, is as good with the [30] merchants at Wilmington as that of the oldest settlers in the province, as they find them punctual and industrious; and, for all goods brought down the river, there is commonly a quick sale, in barter of goods, or in ready money. As in every rising colony, so in this, tradesmen are much wanted; and the demand for them must increase in proportion to the number of settlers that resort to it. Accordingly, at present, tradesmen of all kinds have the greatest encouragement here; those most in request, are millwrights, coopers, wheel-wrights, house and ship-carpenters, blacksmiths. Here farmers would get good employment; fullers, dyers, and stocking-weavers, are much wanted. The ship-carpenters get 13s. per day; the cooper half-a-crown for every barrel he makes; the taylor from 30 to 40s. for the bare making of a suit of clothes; the shoe-maker from 5 to 6s. for making a pair of shoes; wrights and masons 5s. a-day; weavers get every 4th yard for working either woolen or linen cloth, and so on. To enter into more particulars would require a volume.

To such of my countrymen as incline to emigrate to this country, I would point out the month of August as the fittest time for their leaving home, by which means they reach there in the season of most plenty: they have the winter also before them to work at clearing of ground, and naturalizing themselves to the climate, which for them is most dangerous, as I said, when the heat of summer, and the rainy season comes; the complaints most common there are fluxes, fevers, and agues. Upon their arrival among their friends and countrymen in North Carolina, Highlanders are kindly received, and sumptuously entertained, with a variety of rich and fresh meats, and the best of drink. The serenity of the air creates a keen appetite, and the generality of new-comers, after a long confinement during the voyage thither, and not being used to [31] such luxurious fare, are apt to indulge themselves too much, tempted by such good living, and delicious fruits as abound there, which sometimes produce bad consequences. I would therefore offer them a caution, and recommend temperance and abstemiousness to them for the first season, till, by degrees, they are inured to the place; and thus, by using gentle exercise, and living moderately, they will escape the hazards that people run by a change of climate; and, when once naturalized to it, they are in no danger, but may be out late or early, travel by night or day, go the same lengths, and use the same freedoms, they were accustomed to at home, and with equal safety.

I have now finished the general sketch which I proposed to give of this province to my countrymen, from which, though not arranged in an exact and regular order, I flatter myself, it will appear to them abundantly inviting in respect to climate, soil, produce, and manner of settling there. Here we see, that a man of small substance, if upon a precarious footing at home, can, at once, secure to himself a handsome, independent living, and do well for himself and posterity. The poorest man, if he can but work, procures, at once, plenty of subsistence, which grows yearly upon his hands, until, by gentle and agreeable labour, he arrives, at last, at a state of affluence and ease. None of either sex or profession need fear the want of employment, or an ample reward and encouragement in their different occupations and callings. All modes of Christian worship, not detrimental to society, are here tolerated, as in the other royal governments in North America. The church of England is the established religion; but the Presbyterians are most numerous; and divines of that order might here find decent livings; lawyers and physicians are here respected; professors of the sciences are as yet few; teachers of youth are much caressed, and wanted. A rising colony [32] is always reckoned a proper field for the honest, industrious merchant to prosper. Tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers of all sorts, have here an ample range before them: hither then they may repair, and no longer remain in a starving and grovelling condition at home: they may hasten across the Atlantic, and carry over with them some remains of the true old British spirit before it be totally vitiated and extinguished: thither let them import their yet generous and liberal sentiments: let them transport thither the polite arts and sciences, that they may grow up and flourish in a happier clime, and under more benign skies. Here each may sit safe, and at ease, under his own fig-tree, indulging himself in the natural bent of his genius, in patronizing the useful arts of life, and in practicing the virtues of humanity. In a word, let the Highlanders only compare the situation of the country they now live in, to the country of which I have given them but a rude and imperfect draught, and then, if they can, let them long hesitate about the choice they are to make.

Portaskaig in Islay
May 24th, 1773.


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