Your Orders of July last I fully answered last December, but cou'd not hear of any Vessel bound to England sooner than one bound from Cape Fear to Liverpool, and therefore sent it by that Ship Collonel Sampson Commander, enclosed to Capt. Campbell on Liverpool, to be forwarded safely to you, Your Orders of the 19 of September I recd. at the same time, and immediately issued a Proclamation to all the County Clerks of the several Counties to send me a List of the Taxables distinguishing Whites from Blacks in order to form a Judgment of the whole Number of Souls, their Returns being of Males whites from 16 upwards, and of Negros of both Sexes from 12 Years and upwards, with a Computation of what Number there might be in each County who evade the Tax by false Returns, or concealing themselves; I at the same time gave orders in the Proclamation to all Commanding Officers of the Militia to muster and send me a true return of the Numbers mustered and how armed and trained, neither of which Orders in above two Months have been fully complied with, and I have no Power over the County Clerks but by Suspension, as they are not appointed by me, but by the Secretary; nor can I find the Militia Officers, and if I suspend or dismiss them I must disoblige, and can get no others in their room, some of them as well as the County Clerks have made their returns, but the Militia Officers are so defective, that I can give you no satisfactory Account but from the former Years return, for as I obtained a Law to draught Men out of the unmarried Men in the Militia to make up our Companies, they did not attend the Musters when summoned, so that of the Regiments returned they are far short of the former Year, this was to avoid being draughted; they are all so indolent and relaxed by not having the Laws executed, that they won't submit to Government but fly to the Swamps, and are Concealed by their friends and Neighbours, so that 'till I get proper Returns you must be content with the former Year's return. As to their Arms they are not near half armed and I shall be obliged to give them what Arms I can spare out of the thousand I brought over, after arming our raised Companies, to the Militia on the Sea Coast, if there, be a War, as I have already done to the exposed Western Counties on the Frontier; There is some Gunpowder received by the powder Duty, of which, though applied for, I have not yet got a return from the Collectors, but not yet sufficient to supply the Militia, far less to allow any to the forts; the Forts or Batteries necessary to defend our Sea Coasts, are one at Cape Fear, which is at present unable, and the Commissioners have now employ'd workmen to face the front near the Sea with a good cement Wall to support the Rampart and Parapet of the Curtain and two front Bastions, which are immediately necessary and the pallisades without the Life and Buildings necessary for the Garrison within, but there is at present neither Ammunition, Arms nor Cannon, except a few Ship Guns unfit for Service, nor Garrison; and a Commander who was appointed by Genl. Braddock to get rid of him, who by a Letter from him to me got £100 to raise
Burnits [Recruits], which he sunk in his Pockett only raising 3 Serjeants to keep in his Fort. By a Letter wrote to me by Genl. Braddock's Order, he said he wou'd not trust him with a Hogsty, and the best thing I cou'd do to hang him up on the first Tree I cou'd meet with, that he gave it him as a feather to get rid of him.
Upon my Excursion last Summer to Sea upon two places to erect Forts or Batteries to secure our Northern Rivers and new topsail Inlet, I fixed upon one Battery at Core banks near Ocacock Barr to make a Battery, where they are now at Work, the Assembly having give £4000 this Currency for that purpose; and I fix'd upon a place for a Battery at new topsail Inlet, who are now at work upon it, £1500 having been granted by the Assembly for that purpose; for each of these Cannon and proper Stores will be wanted, as also Gunpowder, as our Powder Duty at Present will only answer our Militia, and perhaps a little more, for the immediate Use of the forts and Batteries, But I think a fort is absolutely necessary to be erected at Cape Look out Harbour, as I fully before have wrote to your Lordships, to which I refer, as it is by much the safest harbour from the Cape of Florida to Boston in New England; with this Advantage that they can be at Sea from it in 2 hours, where they are land locked from all Winds, and can run ashore without Danger, where Ships may wood water and clean; it being in some places steep too, within 20 yards of the Shore 18 feet Water. This is now known to the French and Spaniards from the last War, where the Spaniards wooded, watered, careened and got fresh provisions, and cou'd see every Ship that passed the Coast or sailed into Ocacock, or topsail Inlet, and cou'd be at Sea and chase them in 2 hours from the Harbour, this wou'd be of the greatest Benefit in the time of War to erect a sufficient fort and Garrison there proof against privateers, or small frigates, who may cruise upon these Coasts, and wou'd be by much the best place for our Cruizers in time of War, as they cou'd be from it in 48 hours as far North as Cape Henlopen or Delaware, or to Georgia to the Southward, and at Sea in 2 hours, when they may be kept in, when in any of our rivers, or in Chesapeak Bay, for some Days. This is of such vast Consequence to destroy our Enemies in time of War, and to protect our Trade from Britain, that no time shou'd be lost in fixing and erecting a sufficient fort there, and establishing a proper Garrison which in time of War might contain 300 Men, and stand any Attack from Shipping without a formal Siege; in time of peace at least 100 is requisite to be kept in it. And there ought not to be less than 200 in the forts and Batteries at Cape Fear, Corebank, and Topsail Inlet; £1000 is granted for a fort on our Western Frontier, where a place is fix'd upon near Catauba's river, where a stockadeed fort is ordered to be erected for our frontier Company; but as we expect our frontier will extend Westward, we shall not be at any great Expence, as it may afterwards be proper to extend it further to the Westward, where only Swivel Guns will be necessary or Musquetoons, This is all the Account I can give at present, the Lists of the Militia and taxables are herewith inclosed, as also the Number of the Cannon wanted for the forts and Batteries the Board of Ordnance will send other proper Stores with them according to the Size and Number wanted, and I think 28 Barrels of Gunpowder may be sufficient until We can procure a Quantity by our Powder Duty; We can get no Supply of Arms for our Militia, who wou'd pay for them if they cou'd be procured. I have but just recd. the Instructions from the Lords of the Regency of July last, to enable me to agree with the Assembly in reenacting the County Laws, which had been repealed, and to repeal and re-enact such Laws for Counties as have been since passed before my Arrival here, which I shall take Care to do at next Assembly.
I wrote several times to your Lordships about fixing the Seat of Government about 50 Miles by Water higher up Neuse, where I found good high Land upon the River; We have no convenient Houses here, but most indifferent Houses, not 30 feet long and 20 wide, exposed to the Weather, and none can be undertaken until the place is determined; besides this place is very aguish, and the other place is very healthy, that the Council and Assembly are afraid of Meeting here unless in Winter or Spring, and they have very broad Ferries, which is very inconvenient and expensive, all which wou'd be avoided, and be more central if placed higher up the River, I therefore hope you will take it into Consideration, and fix the place soon that we may begin to build.
We have applied the paper Bills of Credit which were set apart for the publick Buildings, and building of Churches and Schools; subject to His Majestie's Approbation, and not to be issued 'till his Majestie's pleasure was known, by Act of Assembly for the raising the several Companies for the protection of the Colonies, and have granted a Tax to pay off the Bills, when they, as the Taxes come in, either ought to be repaid for the same purposes, if it be agreeable to his Majesty that the Money shou'd be so applied, or they must be taken in and cancelled, I find notwithstanding the Number of Bills struck; amounting to £40000 Currency, that since the Northern Counties have taken them, and circulate them there, that there will be no more than what will be necessary to pay the publick Taxes and Quit Rents, when duely collected, and to circulate in trade; as in many Counties they now complain of the Scarcity of Notes, so that it will rather be a Conveniency than any Detriment to continue the Circulation of all the new Notes, and only to cancel all the old ones which were current before, as they are almost worn out; I therefore want His Majestie's Instructions about it against next Session; and hope His Majesty will approve of the Bills being replaced again for the publick Buildings, and building of Churches and Schools, which are very much wanted, instead of cancelling them; as long as they shall appear necessary in trade until Commodities are raised, or our Trade is enlarged to pay our Demands to the British Merchants, of which I hope we shall have soon a considerable Quantity by our Indigo and probably Silk, as we find the Mulberry Trees grow as fast as Willows, and we can have two Crops of Silk in the Summer, of which we have had a full proof, and the last Crop better Silk than the first, and afterwards Eggs enough for the next year, which I don't find that they have yet had in Spain, France and Italy, it wou'd also now be of Great Advantage if we were allow'd to import Wine and Salt from Portugal, and to allow us to supply them with Naval Stores, which wou'd enable us also to supply them with scantling Timber from our Saw Mills for their Buildings cheaper than they can be supplied from the Baltick; which wou'd all be return'd to Great Britain in Bills, for it is in vain to expect Bullion here, whilst we contract large Debts in England, and all we can spare must be laid out in buying Slaves, which although it increases our Stock, must keep us bare of Coin, as all must be paid in Bullion, where other Returns can't be had.
I am pleased to hear that Instructions have been given to the Governor of South Carolina to withdraw the former Instructions about the frontier Line betwixt those two Provinces, for nothing can be done with Mr. Glenn, who I think is never to be superseded; and he is now countenancing and protecting our Settlers North of 35° from paying their Taxes to this Colony, which they have done for these 8 Years without grumbling, when we can't find funds to raise our Taxes, and his Government does not expect any Taxes from them, and has again and again wrote to me not to molest them until the Line be settled; besides his having sent Surveyors to survey Lands within our Limit, and incouraging the Cataubas to disturb our planters, who have taken up Lands within 30 Miles of their Town, no less than 1,800,000 Acres allow'd by him to 300 Warriors, a Circle 60 Miles in Diameter; These are Points I hope you will soon take into your Consideration, and advise his Majesty what Instructions to send about these particulars. I have had no Letters from your Lordships since the 19 of Septr., nor any kind of Instruction except those mentioned above, I thank God my health seems to be perfectly reestablished, and I propose to go soon to the Southern Sea Coast and Frontier, and if I can, shall return, after viewing the Fort and Bar at Cape Fear, along the Sea Coast to see what is doing at the several Batteries. Our 3 Companies are near compleated and we are recruiting for the Company at Fort Cumberland, who after General Braddock's unhappy Defeat deserted in great Numbers with their Arms and Cloaths, and though many are return'd to this Province, and have been offered their pardon to return, yet they are skreened by the Inhabitants and if pursued fly to the Swamps; I am at a great Loss how to pay the Companies after they leave this Province since we have no Cash and our Paper is of no Use, we last year endeavoured to pay them with buying up pork, to send abroad to Virginia where it was blown upon, and obliged to be reship'd again for other Provinces and to the Islands, so that one third of the Sum allow'd to pay the Company was lost, so that if we can't be paid by England or the Provinces, when they quit our Province, our Taxes are raised to no purpose; We can pay cloath and give Provisions to them when in the province, and cou'd recruit or raise some Men, if they cou'd be paid when they quit the Province by the publick, but we can do little more when we lost so much by Provisions, when we send them to the other Colonies.
There shall be nothing wanting in my Care and Endeavours for the publick Service. I am with the greatest Respect My Lords Your Lordships most obedient and most humble Servant.
Newbern 15th Mar. 1756
Letter from Arthr. Dobbs
Esqr. Governor of North
Carolina, to the Board, dated
at Newbern, the 15th March 1756,
relating to the present State
of defense of that Province, and
Recd. June 15th
Read July 13th 1756.