Describes the worried state of the colonials in the wake of the death of Gov. Hyde, and in the midst of the “Tuscarora War.” Also has an example of the common colonial reference to all Indians belonging to the Haudenosaunee as “Senecas.”
COL. POLLOCK TO THE LORDS PROPRIETORS. (From POLLOCK MSS.]
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIPS:– September 20, 1712.
Amongst the many and great judgments it hath pleased God to inflict on the poor people of the north part of your province of Carolina, the death of Governor Hyde is none of the least. For thereby we have not only lost the great interest we had with your lordships, but also with the neighboring governments; and albeit he and the council have used their utmost endeavors to unite and reconcile all differences among the people, in order to which (according to the purport of your lordships’ instructions to him) have issued out a proclamation, pardoning any that had any hand in the late rebellious practices, excepting only Colonel Thomas Carey, Mr. John Porter, senior, Edmund Porter, Mr. Emanuel Low, Mr. Roach, and two or three more here, who have been chief instruments in stirring up the people. Yet, notwithstanding, it hath not produced the desired effects, the people still continuing stubborn and disobedient; some few evil-disposed persons still blowing up the coals of dissension amongst them, to the great hindrance of carrying on the war against the Indian enemies.
The real desire to serve her majesty, your lordships, and the poor people here, with the importunity of the council, have forced me to accept of the administration at this time when the country seems to labor under insuperable difficulties, when in more peaceable times I have refused it. And I assure your lordships, that I will faithfully and truly serve you to the uttermost of my power and knowledge, until you are pleased to appoint some other. In the mean time I think it my duty, as briefly as I can, to lay before you the true state of the country.
The people of this government are greatly impoverished: those at Neuse and Pamplico having most of their houses and household goods burnt, their stocks of cattle, hogs, horses, etc., killed and carried away, and their plantations ruined by the Indians, they forced to secure themselves in forts, as we likewise on the south and southwest shore of Chowan, where I live, are forced to do. Then, we in Albemarle county are forced to supply those in Neuse and Pamplico with grain, and the forces we sent from hence, likewise the Ashley River Indians; whereby our trade is ruined, there being no grain, and little or no pork this two or three years to send out; so that what few vessels come in can have little or nothing unless a little pitch or tar; so that many have not wherewith to pay their debts, and but few that can supply themselves with clothing necessary for their families. Then the public is several thousand pounds in debt for men’s wages employed in the country’s service, ammunition, provisions, vessels’ hire, agents’ and messengers’ charges to our neighboring governments, and several other things too tedious to trouble your lordships with. The Indian war continuing still, the dissension and disobedience as much as ever amongst the people, which with the want of ready pay to pay off the people that have been out in the country’s service, is the greatest mischief of all; so that, albeit in our last Assembly we had an act made, that every person that would not go out in the country’s service against the Indians should forfeit and pay five pounds toward defraying the charges of the war, notwithstanding which act few or none would go out; albeit Governor Hyde was just beginning to put the law in execution, when he died; there being now but a hundred and thirty or forty men in all, at Neuse with Colonel Mitchell and Colonel McRay, who are commanders for this expedition against the Indians–too few a number to conquer the Tuscaroras; only we are in hopes of getting some men from this county, and also are in expectation (by letters from Governor Craven and our agent) of Indians from South Carolina to assist us.
There hath been likewise some Tuscarora Indians with the Governor of Virginia, and they pretend a great willingness to a peace. In order to which they are to be with him again the 28th of this instant, September, where we send in likewise two agents, Mr. Tobias Knight and Major Christopher Gale, not with any expectation of the Governor of Virginia making a peace for us, for that would be dishonorable to your lordships, and a means to render us contemptible to the Indians, but to see what articles they propose. But I believe this pretending to peace is only for delaying of time, until they get their corn gathered in their forts, and until they see if they can have any help from the five confederate nations of Indians, commonly called Senecas.
Your lordships may see from this brief relation, what inextricable difficulties we are plunged into: our enemies strong and numerous, well provided with arms and ammunition; our people poor, dispirited, undisciplined, timorous, divided, and generally disobedient; and not only a great want of arms and ammunition, but likewise the poor men who have been out in the service of the country, for want of their pay, are in want of clothing, so that they are not well able to hold out in the woods in the cold weather after the Indians. And if the government of South Carolina had not assisted us with their Indians, in all probability Neuse and Pamplico had been deserted, and I believe a great deal more of the country, by this time. And in all probability, if Colonel Barnwell had done his part, albeit the most part of his Indians had left him, the war had been ended by this time. For Colonel Mitchell, a Swiss gentleman who came in with Baron de Graffenreid, having continued to draw the trenches within eleven yards of their fort, being only palisades, had raised a battery very near, and had planted two great guns, had got great quantities of light wood and combustible faggots to fill all up between the end of the trenches and the palisades, so that the Indians within the fort (who were in a manner all that had any hand in the massacre) would have surrendered on any terms; yet he made a sham peace with them, and let them all go, which he and they both broke in a very few days after. The taking of this fort (where the most of our enemy Indians were) would have discouraged the rest so much, that they would either have complied on our terms, or left the country, and would have encouraged our people much in taking so many slaves. And albeit Colonel Barnwell’s Indians killed forty or fifty Cores, Bear River, Neuse, and Matamuskeet Indian men, and took near upon two hundred of their women and children; yet in all the time he was here, not above thirty Tuscarora Indians were killed, that we can hear of–the others being small nations, not able of themselves to hurt us. All these things, I doubt not, Governor Hyde hath given you a large account of before this time. I hope your lordships will consider our distressed condition, being greatly in want of arms and ammunition.
I hope the consideration of the great extremity we are brought to, that we are Christians, her majesty’s subject, and your lordships’ tenants, the venturing of our lives, and spending our estates for the preservation of your lordships’ land, will move your lordships to assist us by such ways and means as your lordships shall think fit, especially with arms and ammunition, or twenty big guns and round-shot answerable, two hundred small, good, wellfixed fire-locks . . . . or -000 gun-flints, which I hope sufficient to carry on and finish the war, and may be a public magazine to be kept always ready for the defence of the country.
Entry above from History of North Carolina: With Maps and Illustrations. Volume: 2. Contributors: Francis L. Hawks – author. Publisher: E.J. Hale & Son. Place of Publication: Fayetteville, NC. Publication Year: 1858. (pp 407-409)