Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina (1666)


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This is one of the earliest descriptions of Carolina. It was published by Robert Horne in London (although he may not have been the author). The explicit purpose of the pamphlet was to entice English men and women to migrate to the colony, and thereby increase the value of the Proprietors' estate.]

CAROLINA is a fair and spacious Province on the Continent of America: so called in honour of His Sacred Majesty that now is, Charles the Second, whom God preserve; and His Majesty hath been pleas'd to grant the same to certain Honourable Persons, who in order to the speedy planting of the same, have granted divers privileges and advantages to such as shall transport themselves and Servants in convenient time; This Province lying so neer Virginia, and yet more Southward, enjoys the fertility and advantages thereof; and yet is so far distant, as to be freed from the inconstancy of the Weather, which is a great cause of the unhealthfulness thereof; also, being in the latitude of the Bermudas may expect the like healthfulness which it hath hitherto enjoy'd, and doubtless there is no Plantation that ever the English went upon, in all respects so good as this: for though Bermudas be wonderful healthy and fruitful, yet is it but a Prison to the Inhabitants, who are much streightned for want of room, and therefore many of them are come to Carolina, and more intend to follow. There is seated in this Province two Colonies already, one on the River Roanoak (now called Albemarle River) and borders on Virginia; the Other at Cape Feare, two Degrees more Southerly; of which follows a more perticular Description. . . .

The Perticular Description of Cape Feare.

In the midst of this fertile Province, in the Latitude of 34 degrees, there is a Colony of English seated, who Landed there the 29 of May, Anno 1664. and are in all about 800 persons, who have overcome all the difficulties that attend the first attempts, and have cleered the way for those that come after, who will find good houses to be in whilst their own are in building; good forts to secure them from their enemies; and many things brought from other parts there, increasing to their no small advantage. The entrance into the River, now called Cape-Feare River, the situation of the Cape, and trending of the Land, is plainly laid down to the eye in the Map annexed. The River is barred at the entrance, but there is a Channel close abord the Cape that will convey in safety a ship of 300 Tons, and as soon as a ship is over ihe Bar, the River is 5 or 6 fathom deep for a 100 miles from the Sea; this Bar is a great security to the Colony against a forreign Invasion, the channel being hard to find by those that have not experience of it, and yet safe enough to those that know it.

The Earth, Water, and Air.

The Land is of divers sorts as in all Countryes of the world, that which lyes neer the Sea, is sandy and barren, but beareth many tall Trees, which make good timber for several uses; and this sandy ground is by experienced men thought to be one cause of the healthfulness of the place: but up the River about 20 or 30 mile, where they have made a Town, called Charles-Town, there is plenty of as rich ground as any in the world. It is a blackish mold upon a red sand, and under that a clay, but in some places is rich ground of a grayer colour, they have made Brick of the Clay, which proves very good; and Lime they have also for building. . . . The Woods are stored with Deer and Wild Turkeys, of a great magnitude, weighing many times above 50lbs a piece, and of a more pleasant tast than in England, being in their proper climate; other sorts of Beasts in the Woods that are good for food; and also Fowls, whose names are not known to them. This is what they found naturally upon the place; but they have brought with them most sorts of seeds and roots of the Barbadoes which thrive very well, and they have Potatoes, and the other Roots and Herbs of Barbadoes growing and thriving with them; as also from Virginia, Bermudas, and New England, what they could afford: They have Indigo, Tobacco very good, and Cotton-wool; Lime-trees, Orange, Lemon, and other Fruit-Trees they brought, thrive exceedingly: They have two Crops of Indian-Corn in one year, and great increase every Crop; Apples, Pears, and other English fruit, grow there out of the planted Kernels: The Marshes and Meadows are very large from 1500 to 3000 Acres, and upwards, and are excellent food for Cattle, and will bear any Grain being prepared; some Cattle both great and small, which live well all the Winter, and keep their fat without Fodder; Hogs find so much Mast and other Food in the Woods, that they want no other care than a Swine-herd to keep them from running wild. The Meadows are very proper for Rice, Rape-seed, Lin-seed, etc., and may many of them be made to overflow at pleasure with a small charge. Here are as brave Rivers as any in the World, stored with great abundance of Sturgeon, Salmon, Bass, Plaice, Trout, and Spanish Mackrill, with many other most pleasant sorts of Fish, both flat and round, for which the English Tongue hath no name. . . . Last of all, the Air comes to be considered, which is not the least considerable to the well being of a Plantation, for without a wholsome Air all other considerations avail nothing; and this is it which makes this Place so desireable, being seated in the most temperate Clime, where the neighbour-hood of the glorious Light of Heaven brings many advantages, and his convenient distance secures them from the Inconvenience of his scortching beams. The Summer is not too hot, and the Winter is very short and moderate, best agreeing with English Constitutions. . . .

If therefore any industrious and ingenious persons shall be willing to pertake of the Felicites of this Country, let them imbrace the first opportunity, that they may obtain the greater advantages.

The chief of the Privileges are as follows.

First, There is full and free Liberty of Conscience granted to all, so that no man is to be molested or called in question for matters of Religious Concern; but every one to be obedient to the Civil Government, worshipping God after their own way.

Secondly, There is freedom from Custom, for all Wine, Silk, Raisins, Currance, Oyl, Olives, and Almonds, that shall be raised in the Province for 7. years, after 4 Ton of any of those commodities shall be imported in one Bottom.

Thirdly, Every Free-man and Free-woman that transport themselves and Servants by the 25 of March next, being 1667. shall have for Himself, Wife, Children, and Men-servants, for each 100 Acres of Land for him and his Heirs for ever, and for every Woman-servant and Slave 50 Acres, paying at most 1/2d. per acre, per annum, in lieu of all demands, to the Lords Proprietors: Provided always, That every Man be armed with a good Musquet full bore, 10lbs Powder, and 20lbs of Bullet, and six Months Provision for all, to serve them whilst they raise Provision in that Countrey.

Fourthly, Every Man-Servant at the expiration of their time, is to have of the Country a 100 Acres of Land to him and his heirs for ever, paying only 1/2d. per Acre, per annum, and the Women 50. Acres of Land on the same conditions; their Masters also are to allow them two Suits of Apparrel and Tools such as he is best able to work with, according to the Custom of the Countrey.

Fifthly, They are to have a Governour and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the Laws of the Assembly put in due execution; but the Governour is to rule but 3 years, and then learn to obey; also he hath no power to lay any Tax, or make or abrogate any Law, without the Consent of the Colony in their Assembly.

Sixthly, They are to choose annually from among themselves, a certain Number of Men, according to their divisions, which constitute the General Assembly with the Governour and his Council, and have the sole power of Making Laws, and Laying Taxes for the common good when need shall require.

These are the chief and Fundamental privileges, but the Right Honourable Lords Proprietors have promised (and it is their Interest so to do) to be ready to grant what other Privileges may be found advantageous for the good, of the Colony.

Is there therefore any younger Brother who is born of Gentile [Genteel] blood, and whose Spirit is elevated above the common sort, and yet the hard usage of our Country hath not allowed suitable fortune; he will not surely be afraid to leave his Native Soil to advance his Fortunes equal to his Blood and Spirit, and so he will avoid those unlawful ways too many of our young Gentlemen take to maintain themselves according to their high education, having but small Estates; here, with a few Servants and a small Stock a great Estate may be raised, although his Birth have not entitled him to any of the Land of his Ancestors, yet his Industry may supply him so, as to make him the head of as famous a family.

Such as are here tormented with much care how to get worth to gain a Livelyhood, or that with their labour can hardly get a comfortable subsistance, shall do well to go to this place, where any man what-ever, that is but willing to take moderate pains, may be assured of a most comfortable subsistance, and be in a way to raise his fortunes far beyond what he could ever hope for in England. Let no man be troubled at the thoughts of being a Servant for 4 or 5 year, for I can assure you, that many men give mony with their children to serve 7 years, to take more pains and fare nothing so well as the Servants in this Plantation will do. Then it is to be considered, that so soon as he is out of his time, he hath Land, and Tools, and Clothes given him, and is in a way of advancement. Therefore all Artificers, as Carpenters, Wheelrights, Joyners, Coopers, Bricklayers, Smiths, or diligent Husbandmen and Labourers, that are willing to advance their fortunes, and live in a most pleasant healthful and fruitful Country, where Artificers are of high esteem, and used with all Civility and Courtesie imaginable, may take notice, that

There is an opportunity offers now by the Virginia Fleet, from whence Cape Feare is but 3 or 4 days sail, and then a small Stock carried to Virginia will purchase provisions at a far easier rate than to carry them from hence; also the freight of the said Provisions will be saved, and be more fresh, and there wanteth not conveyance from Virginia thither.

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but Civil, and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other, will purchase them for their Wives.

Those that desire further advice, or Servants that would be entertained, let them repair to Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, Ironmonger, at the Sign of the Three Feathers, in Bishopsgate Street, where they may be informed when the Ships will be ready, and what they must carry with them.

Thus much was convenient to be written at present, but a more ample Relation is intended to be published in due time.


Source: Robert Horne,
A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73.

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