The State of the Former Proceedings Relative to the Boundary Line between North and South Carolina, 1755
The State of the former Proceedings relative to the Boundary Line between the Northern and Southern Colonies together with the Opinion of the Governor and Council of North Carolina what they think wou’d be a proper Boundary, with the Reasons to support the Limit and Mearing they propose to determine the Line, to be laid before his Majesty for his Approbation and final Commands to determine it.
January 4, 1755
The Line or Boundary which was necessary to be determin’d betwixt the Colonies of North & South Carolina having not been fix’d by the Lords Proprietors of Carolina before they sold their Rights to the Crown; it was thought proper to give Instructions to the first Governors appointed by His Majesty to fix upon a proper Line or Boundary to divide & distinguish the Limits & Extent of each Colony; accordingly the Lords Commissioners of Trade sent over Instructions for that purpose but being at that time entire Strangers to the Geography of Carolina, by having only erroneous Charts of the Country; and there being few or no Settlers in the Southern parts of North Carolina & the proprietors Governor of North Carolina knowing very little of the Maritime part of the province to Southward of Neus River, had nothing at all of the Courses of the Rivers, or of the Country to the Westward at any Distance from the Sea Coast; The Lords Commissioners of Trade were then obliged to have their Information chiefly from Mr. Johnston then Governor of North Carolina, & to give Instructions according to the Account he thought proper to give to them, wch. was calculated to extend the Limits of the province of South Carolina, in pursuance to his Information they were pleas’d to give Instructions, that the Line shou’d be carried from the Entrance of Waggamaw River into the Winyaw up that River until it came within [blank] Miles of the North West Branch of Cape Fear River, and in Case the head of Waggamaw River came within 8 Miles from Cape Fear River, then to proceed at the Distance of 8 miles up the North West Branch of Cape Fear River & so to the fountain head of said River.
This Instruction after it came to be known to the Governor and Council of North Carolina, they represented against so unequitable and improper a Limit, which wou’d have cut the province of[f] from all the Lands to Westward of that River, which according to Charter was to go in a West Line to the South Sea, but this went so close to the Virginia Boundary, that this Northern province wou’d have been entirely hem’d in by Virginia and South Carolina; upon this true Representation of the Case the Lords of Trade withdrew their Instructions, and order’d that each of the provinces shou’d appoint Commissioners to run out a proper Line, and when that was fix’d to send it over to them to have his Majesty’s Approbation.
This was the Instruction given to Mr. Johnston the late Governor of North Carolina when he was appointed in 1734 accordingly in April 1735 the Governor of South Carolina appointed 3 Commissioners under their Great Seal to agree with the Governor and Council of North Carolina, or such Commissioners as they shou’d appoint under their Great Seal, in Case they shou’d agree about the Line, accordingly 3 Commissioners were appointed to agree with them about the proper Boundary betwixt the two Colonies.
They met pursuant to their Commission, and according to the Situation of the Colonies at that time they agreed that a due West Line shou’d be carried from Cape Fear along the Sea Coast for 30 Miles, and from thence proceed North West to 35° M.L. and if the Line touch’d Pedee River before they arrived at 35° then they were to make a Set off at 5 Miles Distance from Pedee & proceed up the River, ‘till they arrived at that Latitude, and from thence they were to proceed due West untill they came to the Catawba Town, but if the Town shou’d be to the Northward of the Line, they were to make a Sett off around the Town so as to Leave it in the South government. This Agreement under hand and Seal was lodged in the Secretary’s Office of each province.
The Commissioners began to run the Line the first of May 1735 and proceeded 30 Miles West from Cape Fear, which fell within 10 poles of little River where it enters the Sea, and then went North West to the place where it crossed the Country Road, and set up poles there for the Mearing of the 2 provinces, and then separated agreeing under hand & Seal to meet again on the 18 of Septr. and if either party failed in coming the other was to continue the Line, which was to be binding upon both.
The Northern Commissioners attended accordingly, but the Southern
Commissioners not coming untill October, they proceeded North West for about 70 Miles, and when the Southern Cornmissioners arrived they followed upon the Line 40 Miles, and finding the work right so far they sent a Draught of what they had done to the Lords Commissioners of Trade, and nothing more has since been done, nor any Approbation of it from his Majesty, for as the Commissioners had been paid nothing for their trouble or Expence they wou’d proceed no further. However a Deputy Surveyor took the Lot of Pedee at 35° and set up a Mark, which since that time has been deemed to be the Limit at that place.
Since that time there have been frequent Quarrels to the Westward Of Pedee, and several have been killed or wounded upon executing Warrants. Grants for Lands have been made out by the Governor of South Carolina North of 35° without Survey, which being opposed by the Northern Government, Squabbles have ensued; they have also sent over Summons to oblige the Settlers on the North side of the Line to serve in their Militia, and to appear at Musters, and a kind of Sanctuary allowed to Criminals and Vagabonds, by their pretending as it serves their purpose that they belong to either province, so that there is a Necessity to fix a Line or Boundary immediately to determine a proper & equitable Boundary without Regard to what has been hitherto done, as nothing has been finished here, or approved of by his Majesty in Council.
I must therefore beg Leave to observe the great Inconveniency & Expense attending the laying out boundaries in a right Line, where natural Boundaries by Rivers can conveniently be had. The Commissioners in one Case being obliged often to cut through almost impenetrable Thickets or Swamps at great Expence as well of time as Labour, and since the Situation of Affairs in the 2 provinces has been greatly altered after the former Instructions were given, the present Line shou’d be alter’d for his Majesty’s Service and the greater Conveniencies of both Colonies.
Since the time of the first Instructions Georgia has been separated from Carolina & given to private Proprietors, and has lately again been by them restored to the Crown whilst it was in the Propriet[or]s hands the Boundary betwixt that Colony & South Carolina was fixed by a natural Boundary the River Savana from the Sea to it’s Source in the Mountains, which being in 35° Latitude the Limit since fixed for North Carolina, South Carolina wou’d have then been quite cut off from the country to the Westward of that River, and occasion’d their pushing to have their Northern Line extended further North into North Carolina along the North West Branch of Cape Fear River; But as at present His Majesty has recovered the province of Georgia, his Majesty has the Power & Right to alter the Line betwixt South Carolina and Georgia, by making an equitable
Mearing and extending the province of South Carolina Westward beyond the Savana from a determined Latitude to be fixed at some Distance from the Sea betwixt the 2 Colonies, as there are no Settlers yet fixed in that part of the Country.
I must also beg leave further to observe that since the Mearing Line has been run from little River towards Pedee, there has been a great Alteration in the province of North Carolina, which will make it more equitable to enlarge the Limits of this province more to the Southward occasion’d by his Majesty’s having agreed to give Lord Granville’s undivided Eighth of Carolina & Georgia entirely out of the province of North Carolina along the Virginia Line, by which Means the Quit Rents of North Carolina for the Length of 56° of Lat. are vested in Lord Granville, and only 34’ of Lat. left in the Crown, in Case North Carolina extends no further South than 35° , for the little Skirt thrown in to North Carolina near Cape Fear to the Southward of 35° is a barren Sand near the Sea Coast of very little Value and consequently not likely to be settled or to pay Quit Rents, and since Lord Granville had an equal Right to have chosen part of his Lands out of South Carolina & Georgia, it makes it therefore reasonable to alter the Boundary & increase his Majesty’s Quit Rents in North Carolina.
By the last Charter of Carolina it’s Bounds were fix’d betwixt 29°& 36° 30’ N. L. and betwixt these parallels to the South Sea.
The Carolina’s after Georgia was separated from them extended from the Mouth of the Savanna River in 32° to the Virginia Line in 3[6° cut off] 30’ being 4° 30’ from the North to South, which at 69 miles to a Degree is above 310 English Miles, If the Division Line had then been fixed at 3[2° cut off] betwixt the Carolinas, then South Carolina wou’d have had 3 Degrees of Latitude from 320 to 35 0 about 207 Miles, and North Carolina only one Degree and half about 103 Miles, of which Lord Granville having got about 56’ that is 64 Miles, there remains no more than 34’ or 39 Miles which pay Quit Rent to the Crown in North Carolina except a small Slip along the Sea Coast above mentioned.
Since then his Majesty might have taken a proportional Share from South Carolina & Georgia of the Quit Rents to be given to Lord Granville which wou’d have been about 40 to a Degree it wou’d seem equitable to take so much from South Carolina to add to North Carolina, and fix the Line at 34°, 20’ betwixt the 2 provinces in a West Line from Pedee to the Mountains, and a proportional Quantity may be taken from Georgia West of Savana, which is not yet settled, and be given to South Carolina at a certain Distance from the Sea, and there wou’d still above 2 Degrees of Lat. belong to Georgia from the Lat. 30° at Altalamaha to the Northward of 32° higher up the Savana.
But since the natural Boundary of a River to much more convent. where it can be had at least some Distance from the Sea, and is fix’d without any expence so far; I therefore think it wou’d be of singular Benefit to North Carolina, and of no real
Disadvantage to So. Carolina, upon their having an equivalent beyond the Savana, that the Winyaw & Pedee shou’d be the Boundary from the Sea to 34° 20’, for at present they have no Advantage from the Sandy Beach along the Sea Coast from Winyaw to little River, in which is no Creek or Safety; But the Inconveniency of not having the East side of the Winyaw & Pedee within the Northern province is very great to North Carolina for as there is a very large and fruitful Country upon the several Branches of Pedee within the Northern Province, who have no Conveniency of carrying their heavy Goods but in floats down to Winyaw, if part of the East Side of that River be left in the Southern province, they may at pleasure prohibit or tax any Goods coming into their province, but if the River to the Sea is made the Boundary, then they can build Towns & Wharfes on the East Side in the Northern province, so that it wou’d be more advantagious to this province to give up part of the Latitude, and fix it at 34° 30’ instead of 34°, 20’ than not have the free Navigation of the Pedee.
This I take to be a fair State of the Case of the Boundary betwixt these 2 provinces at present and the Line need be carried no further than to the Cherokee Mountains, the Catawba Indians wou’d be then entirely within the Northern province, and we cou’d then by an Agreemt. wth. them lay out for their Conveniency a sufficient Tract of Land about their Town, at present their Town lies upon the Line, and Governr Glen has taken upon him as I am well inform’d to give the Catawba’s 130 Miles extent around their Town, half out of the Northern province in order to create on Emnity betwixt the Catawbas & this Colony, alledging that the Catawbas & Cherokees are subject to his and to no other province, and that no other Province has a Right to trade or any way interfere wth. them.
After the Boundary Line shall be fixed by his Majesty at determin’d Lat. I am of Opinion that it may be ascertain’d at a very inconsiderable Expence, wch. has
hitherto been done in other places at a very extraordinary Expence by cutting their way through almost impenetrable Thickets and Swamps, for as there are many Branches of Rivers which cross the parallel at small Distances from each other not above 10 or 15 Miles, the Latitude may be fix’d at each Branch wch. crosses the Mearing, & sufficient Marks set up; and the Distance betwixt each Branch may be ascertain’d whenever any surveys are made, or Patent’s granted for the Lands upon the Line, at the Expence of the person who gets the Patent, as in other Cases, and thus as the Lands are granted the Line will be ascertain’d without further Expence.
After the several Limits are fix’d between the Colonies as far as the Mountains, I humbly submit it to his Majesty’s Consideration, if approv’d of by your Lordships whether it wou’d not be of Service to his Majesty, and a Benefit to the several Colonies to alter the Direction of the Line thro’ the passes of the Mountains, and from thence to run Northwestward to the Ohio, according to the Current of some proper Brook or River running nearest that Course, so as to have a natural Boundary without Expence to the Ohio, for whenever those Countries beyond the Mountains are settled wth. a sufficient Number of Planters to make or constitute an Assembly, and to defend themselves, His Majesty may probably think it prudent as well as political to have new distinct
Governments formed beyond the Mountains for it will be too far to oblige the Inhabitants to attend the assemblies near the Sea Coast, and it may be found necessary to have more distinct Governments independent of each other, as soon as they have Numbers sufficient to defend themselves, and make their own Laws, and they wo[ul]d become Barriers to the present Colonies; These may all be made by natural Boundaries, as the Rivers run North West from the Mountains to the Ohio and therefore the Boundaries of Virginia North & South Carolina beyond the Mountains may run the same way, until they are peopled so as to become distinct Colonies; for if the Lines shou’d be continued due West beyond the Mountains, to the Mississippi, Virginia wou’d have a Boundary of vast Extent beyond both the Carolinas, as it wou’d extend from the falls of Niagara where it wou’d join New york beyond the proprietary Colonies to Mississippi, wch. wou’d be too much for them to protect, or to join their assemblies, and when the New Colonies shou’d be separated the Mearings wou’d be to settle again, wch. may be done now at once by directing the Line beyond the Mountains betwixt Virginia & North Carolina, and betwixt North Carolina & the Southern province to run North Westward according to any Branch that may be chosen, then the Bounds betwixt Virginia & Carolina might fall into the Ohio above the Falls near the Chawans Town, and the Line betwixt the Carolinas about the Entrance of the Occaback or River of St. Jerome into the Ohio, and the Country to Westward of that River to the Southward of the Chickesaws might belong to South Carolina, and from thence to Mobile or Alibama fort, and the Spanish Line might be annexed to Georgia, and these several Countries be protected by the adjoining Colonies, until it wou’d be proper to erect them into separate Governments, and in the Mean time they shou’d be annex’d to the neighbouring Colonies.
The most material Objection that the Government of South Carolina can make against the Winyaw’s and Pedee’s being made the natural Boundary betwixt the 2 provinces, it, that there are a considerable Number of Taxables seated betwixt Winyaw Pedee and the Waggamow which pay their Taxes at present to South Carolina, which wou’d lessen their Revenue and increase the Tax upon the remaining Inhabitants.
To this may be answer’d that at ⅌sent that may be true, but as South Carolina wou’d have a much greater Extent of better Land annex’d to their province out of Georgia beyond Savana River at a Distance from the Sea, where the Lands are rich, and at present the Settlers who remove from the Northward are now extended as far South as the Savana, & are taking up Lands to the Westward of it near the Mountains, rather than settle the hot Sands near the Sea Coast; they wou’d very soon have many more taxables there in the Country to be ceded to them than they have at present East of Winyaw & Pedee, and as a perpetual Boundary will be fixed to them Westerly, it will soon turn out to their Advantage, But as long as it shou’d appear to be a Disadvantage, the present Inhabitants East of Winyaw may continue to be taxed by South Carolina, and pay their Taxes there, and when it appears that there are as many Taxables settled beyond Savana, that then his Majesty may direct the future Taxes to be Paid to North Carolina together wth. the Quit Rents, and in the meantime the Jurisdiction in all other things may be under the Government of North Carolina, and the Goods coming down Pedee cou’d not be taxed by the South Government; and Towns wou’d be erected on the East side of Winyaw.
They may perhaps form another Objection upon Account of their having given £5 ⅌ head to every white person who came by Sea to settle in that province, but this can be only a trifling Objection, for they have paid a very small Sum to those who have settled East of Winyaw, very few of them having come by Sea, but chiefly by Land from the Northward, who are not entitled to the premium, and the Lands West of Pedee have not been settled until within these few years, and all have come from the Northward by Land, so that it can have no weight But when the Southern Government have sent over their plan, how they wou’d have the Mearing Line determined wth. their Reasons to support it, then the two Plans wth. the Reasons given by each province to support their Claim, or to shew which will be most for his Majesty’s Service, and for the Benefit of both provinces will come properly before his Majesty in Council wth. your Lordship’s Observation & Opinion upon them, and whatever his Majesty will think proper & most for his Service, for the Benefit of the 2 Provinces will be decisive & will determine the Boundary, which shall be run out without Loss of time, and each province will acquiesce in the Determination, by which Means all future Quarrels betwixt North Carolina & the Catawba Indians, who have of late been spirited up by the Governor of South Carolina to oppose the planters of North Carolina in their Possessions in their Neighbourhood will be prevented, as well as betwixt the Settlers on each Side the Line, and that no protection will be given to Criminals or Vagrants, nor will they have any Opportunity to evade the Laws, when the Line is determined; But if the determining the Boundary be left to Commissioners to be appointed by each Colony, they cou’d not be Brought to agree upon the Line for some years, perhaps as long as the English & French Cormmissioners have & may take to fix the Boundaries of their Colonies at Paris, wch. the French will never agree to in time of peace, & at last if we desire to preserve our Rights, the longest Sword must carry it.
I humbly submit the Boundary proposed wth. the Reasons to support to your Lordship’s Consideration, and this province will chearfully submit to whatever his Majesty shall determine; But whatever is done I hope will be fix’d without Delay, that all the Inconveniencies may be avoided, and the Land near the Line may be settled
Recd. with Governor Dobbs’s Letter dated the 4th Janry. 1755
Recd. July the 2d
Read [blank] 3d 1755.
State of the former Proceedings relative to the Boundary-Line between the Northern & Southern Colonies, together with the Opinion of the Governor & Council of North Carolina, what they think would be a proper Boundary, with the Reasons to support the Limit & Mearing they propose to determine the Line; to be laid before His Majesty, for His Approbation, & final Commands to determine it.