Ye Present Scituation of Affairs

Detail of portrait of Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges (1736).
Detail of portrait of Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Spotswood by Charles Bridges (1736).

VIRGINIA, October 15, 1712.

To ye Council of Trade:

MY LORDS:

The arrival of the Dulwich Frygat, with her Maj’t’s proclamation for a Cessation of Arms, gives me the opportunity of a few Minutes to inform y’r Lord’ps of ye present Scituation of Affairs in these parts.

The Indians continue their Incursions in North Carolina, and the Death of Colo. Hyde, their Gov’r, w’ch happened the beginning of last Month, increases the misery of that province, so much weakened already by their own divisions, that no measures projected by those in the Governm’t for curbing the Heathen can be prosecuted.

This Unhappy State of her Maj’t’s Subjects in my Neighbourhood is ye more Affecting to me because I have very little hopes of being enabled to relieve them by our Assembly, which I have called to meet next Week; for the Mob of this Country, having tryed their Strength in the late Election and finding themselves able to carry whom they please, have generally chosen representatives of their own Class, who as their principal Recommendation have declared their resolution to raise no Tax on the people, let the occasion be what it will. This is owing to a defect in the Constitution, which allows to every one tho’ but just out of the Condition of a Serv’t, and that can but purchase half an acre of Land, an equal Vote with the Man of the best Estate in the Country.

The Militia of this Colony is perfectly useless without Arms or amunition, and by an unaccountable infatuation, no arguments I have used can prevail on these people to make their Militia more Serviceable, or to fall into any other measures for the Defence of their Country. The fear of Enemys by Sea, (except that of pirates,) are now happily removed by the peace, (which if on no other acc’t than that alone,) ought to be received here as the greatest and most valuable blessing; but the Insurrections of our own Negroes, or the Invasions of the Indians, are no less to be dreaded, while the people are so stupidly averse to the only means they have left to protect themselves Against either of these Events. I shall, for my own part, take all the care I am capable of (under these disadvantages) for the safety of her Ma’tie’s Subjects, and still endeav’r to testify to yo’r Lord’ps that I am with due respect.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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