The land in Carolina is easily cleared, as there is little or no underwood, 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, for two or three years together, very good crops of Indian corn and peas; and, when it lies low, and is flooded, it answer 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 underwood; 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 ravals any country. The sassafras, sarsaparilla, the China root, the Indian pink, the golden rod, the horhound, and the snake root of various sorts, are 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 yelds a balm thought to be little inferior to that of Mecca. Besides these, there are other trees that yield gums, licorice, 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 fruit 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 to grapes, and all kinds of fruit, (except currants, gooseberries, and the red cherry) from the small cherry to the large melon, nothing can be more luscious. The fruit here has such a delicious flavor, that they who once tasted 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 ther salt and fresh water rivers, which fishermen 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 exceeed the 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 squirel and opossum to the bullock, and all ver good, nothing in England coming up to their pork. Beef and pork is sold from 1 d. to 2d. a pound, their fattest pullets at 6 d. 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 their seasons; and deer are sold from 5 to 10 s. 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 show; their behavior at home is consistent with their appearance abroad. Their houses are legant, their tables always plentifully covered, and their entertainment sumptuous. They are fond of company, living very sociable and neighborly, fisiting 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 every after; the expense 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 2 s. and 6 d. 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 newcomers, and retire farther back into the country. Plantations of about 3 quarters of a mile square, have been sold for between 40 to 50 l. which produce indico, tobacco, cotton, rice, wheat, Indian corn, barley, rye, and oats, without every being dunged; for, as all the land abounds witn 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 sevants or negroes clearing his grounds for two year, 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 400 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 hoed 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 neighboring plantations and farms feed and wander over large tracts without interfering with anybody's property, and they are not restricted to any number. I may here observe, that there were neighter horses, cows, sheep, or hogs, in America, tell carried thither by the Europeans; and now they are mutiplied so extremely, 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 throuh 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 30,000 head of black cattle, without mentioning of hogs, besides large quantities sold to vessels in their own ports, together with great cargoes of beef, pork, livestock, and all sorts of grain, constantly sent to the Bahama isles and the West Indies. The whole expense 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 labor 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 ae far asunder, and there are few shrubs, and no undergrowth, and the nature of the soil is loose, and free of stones or any rocks. If one gets 70 to 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 l. Five of these will clear and labor a plantation the first year, so as you shall have everything 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 flour, flax seed, indico, rice, butter, tallow, peas, potatoes, livestock, 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 choose money, their masters give Osnaburgs (coarse cloth), negro cloths, caps, hats, handkerchiefs, pipes, and knives. They do not plant in their fields for subsistence, but for amusement, pleasure, and profit, their masters giving them clothes, and sufficient provisions from the granaries. The immense increase of Indian corn furnishes plenty of 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 1. in Britain, may be bought at 8 l. and so in proportion to their size and value. From 4 to 6 l. 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 (course woollen cloth) for their common wear: this manufacture must rise in time. The new emigrants settling up the country are far more industious 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 l. cash with him into that country, he may live as easily as a proprietor of 500 l. a year in Scotland, as to the necessaries and conveniencies of life, and so in proportion to the flock 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. Meantime 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 residents in the inland counties of this province finding themselves soon easy and independent, and being far separated, and not linked together by country, or a close neighborhood, have become idle, lazy, and much devoted to sport and hunting; and, perceiving that many 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 newcomers, who now arrive in such crowds; they also know, that the farther they go back into the country, the land turns richer and better; on these accounts, they willingingly quit and sell their present settlements along the rivers, and nearest the coast, to newcomers, 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 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 the necessary office houses upon it, may be purchased for 160 l. I have seen one of not much less extent bought for 60 l. and the very first year the purchaser made 11 hogsheads of brandy of the peaches and apples in his garden, and some cider, besides what he disposed of in cattle, grain and livestock. 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 6 d. 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 linen, 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 shist of their own, to pay for their passage, 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 woodlands, for clearing part of them; these are supplied with plenty of provisions the first 12 months, and have permission to fell 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 the negroes, are able; for their trouble, they have from the owner the third part of whatever the land so produces, the third bushel of whatever grain, the third calf, the third 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 newcomer in condition 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, which 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 wagons to the town of Cross Creek, where may be seen 40 or 50 of them in a day, and these wagons 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 flour, in barrels, also their livestock, Indian corn, rawhides, butter, tallow, and whatever they have for market: boats and canoes always accompany these rants: 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 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, coopes, wheelwrights, house and ship carpenters, blacksmiths. Here farmers would get good employment; fullers, dyers, and stocking weavers, are much wanted. The ship carpenters get 13 s. per day; the cooper half a crown for every barrel he makes; the taylor from 30 to 40 s. for the bare making of a suit of clothes; the shoe maker from 5 to 6 s. for making a pair of shoes; wrights and masons 5 s. a day; weavers get every 4th yeard for working either woollen 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 Augst as the fittest time to for their leaving home, by which means they reach there in the season of most plenty: they have th ewinter 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 compaints 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 newcomers, after a long confinement during their voyage thither, and not being used to such luxurious fare, are apt to indulge themselves too much, tempted by such good living, and delicious fruits as abound there, which sometimes produces bad consequences. I would therefore offer them a caution, and recommend temperance and abstemiousness to them for the first season, until, 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 repsect 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 dow well for himself and posterity. The poorest man, if he can but work, procures at once, plenty of substance, which grows yearly upon his hands, until, by gentle and agreeable labor, 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 here respected; professors of the sciences are as yet few; teachers of youth are much caressed, and wanted. A rising colony is always reckoned a proper field for the honest, industrious merchant to prosper. Tradesmen, mechanics, and laborers 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 site safe, and at ease under his own fig tree, indulging himself in the natural bent of his genious, 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
Scotus Americanus (Scot American)