In the Year 1700, when People flock'd from all Parts of the Christian World, to see the Solemnity of the Grand Jubilee at Rome, my Intention, at that Time, being to travel, I accidentally met with a Gentleman, who had been Abroad, and was very well acquainted with the Ways of Living in both Indies; of whom, having made Enquiry concerning them, he assur'd me, that Carolina was the best Country I could go to; and, that there then lay a Ship in the Thames, in which I might have my Passage. I laid hold on this Opportunity, and was not long on Board, before we fell down the River, and sail'd to Cowes; where, having taken in some Passengers, we proceeded on our Voyage, 'till we sprung a-leak, and were forc'd into the Islands of Scilly. Here we spent about 10 Days in refitting; in which Time we had a great deal of Diversion in Fishing and Shooting on those rocky Islands. The Inhabitants were very courteous and civil, especially the Governor, to whose good Company and Favour, we were very much oblig'd. There is a Town on one of these Islands, where is good Entertainment for those that happen to come in, though the Land is but mean, and Flesh-meat not Plenty. They have good Store of Rabbits, Quails and Fish; and you see at the poor Peoples Doors great Heaps of Periwinkle-shells, those Fish being a great Part of their Food. On the 1st Day of May, having a fair Wind at East, we put to Sea, and were on the Ocean (without speaking to any Vessel, except a Ketch bound from New England to Barbadoes, laden with Horses, Fish, and Provisions) 'till the latter End of July, when the Winds hung so much Southerly, that we could not get to our Port, but put into Sandyhook-bay, and went up to New York, after a pinching Voyage, caus'd by our long Passage. We found at the Watering-Place, a French Man of War, who had on Board Men and Necessaries to make a Colony, and was intended for the Messiasippi River, there to settle. The Country of New-York is very pleasant in Summer, but in the Winter very cold, as all the Northern Plantations are. Their chief Commodities are Provisions, Bread, Beer, Lumber, and Fish in abundance; all which are very good, and some Skins and Furrs are hence exported. The City is govern'd by a Mayor, (as in England) is seated on an Island, and lies very convenient for Trade and Defence, having a regular Fort, and well mounted with Guns. The Buildings are generally of a smaller Sort of Flemish Brick, and of the Dutch Fashion, (excepting some few Houses:) They are all very firm and good Work, and conveniently plac'd, as is likewise the Town, which gives a very pleasant Prospect of the neighbouring Islands and Rivers. A good Part of the Inhabitants are Dutch, in whose Hands this Colony once was. After a Fortnight's Stay here, we put out from Sandyhook, and in 14 Days after, arriv'd at Charles-Town, the Metropolis of South Carolina, which is scituate in 32, 45 North Latitude, and admits of large Ships to come over their Bar up to the Town, where is a very commodious Harbour, about 5 Miles distant from the Inlet, and stands on a Point very convenient for Trade, being seated between two pleasant and navigable Rivers. The Town has very regular and fair Streets, in which are good Buildings of Brick and Wood, and since my coming thence, has had great Additions of beautiful, large Brick-buildings, besides a strong Fort, and regular Fortifications made to defend the Town. The Inhabitants, by their wise Management and Industry, have much improv'd the Country, which is in as thriving Circumstances at this Time, as any Colony on the Continent of English America, and is of more Advantage to the Crown of Great Britain, than any of the other more Northerly Plantations, (Virginia and Maryland excepted.) This Colony was at first planted by a genteel Sort of People, that were well acquainted with Trade, and had either Money or Parts, to make good Use of the Advantages that offer'd, as most of them have done, by raising themselves to great Estates, and considerable Places of Trust, and Posts of Honour, in this thriving Settlement. Since the first Planters, abundance of French and others have gone over, and rais'd themselves to considerable Fortunes. They are very neat and exact in Packing and Shipping of their Commodities; which Method has got them so great a Character Abroad, that they generally come to a good Market with their Commodities; when oftentimes the Product of other Plantations, are forc'd to be sold at lower Prices. They have a considerable Trade both to Europe, and to the West Indies, whereby they become rich, and are supply'd with all Things necessary for Trade, and genteel Living, which several other Places fall short of. Their co-habiting in a Town, has drawn to them ingenious People of most Sciences, whereby they have Tutors amongst them that educate their Youth a-la-mode.
Their Roads, with great Industry, are made very good and pleasant. Near the Town is built a fair Parsonage-house, with necessary Offices, and the Minister has a very considerable Allowance from his Parish. There is likewise a French Church in Town, of the Reform'd Religion, and several Meeting-houses for dissenting Congregations, who all enjoy at this day an entire Liberty of their Worship; the Constitution of this Government, allowing all Parties of well-meaning Christians to enjoy a free Toleration, and possess the same Priviledges, so long as they appear to behave themselves peaceably and well: It being the Lords Proprietors Intent, that the Inhabitants of Carolina should be as free from Oppression, as any in the Universe; which doubtless they will, if their own Differences amongst themselves do not occasion the contrary.
They have a well-disciplin'd Militia; their Horse are most Gentlemen, and well mounted, and the best in America, and may equalize any in other Parts: Their Officers, both Infantry and Cavalry, generally appear in scarlet Mountings, and as rich as in most Regiments belonging to the Crown, which shews the Richness and Grandeur of this Colony. They are a Fronteer, and prove such troublesome Neighbours to the Spaniards, that they have once laid their Town of St. Augustine in Ashes, and drove away their Cattle; besides many Encounters and Engagements, in which they have defeated them, too tedious to relate here. What the French got by their Attempt against South Carolina, will hardly ever be rank'd amongst their Victories; their Admiral Mouville being glad to leave the Enterprize, and run away, after he had suffer'd all the Loss and Disgrace he was capable of receiving. They are absolute Masters over the Indians, and carry so strict a Hand over such as are within the Circle of their Trade, that none does the least Injury to any of the English, but he is presently sent for, and punish'd with Death, or otherwise, according to the Nature of the Fault. They have an entire Friendship with the neighbouring Indians of several Nations, which are a very warlike People, ever faithful to the English, and have prov'd themselves brave and true on all Occasions; and are a great Help and Strength to this Colony. The Chief of the savage Nations have heretofore groan'd under the Spanish Yoke, and having experienc'd their Cruelty, are become such mortal Enemies to that People, that they never give a Spaniard Quarter; but generally, when they take any Prisoners, (if the English be not near to prevent it)sculp them, that is, to take their Hair and Skin of their Heads, which they often flea away, whilst the Wretch is alive. Notwithstanding the English have us'd all their Endeavours, yet they could never bring them to leave this Barbarity to the Spaniards; who, as they alledge, use to murder them and their Relations, and make Slaves of them to build their Forts and Towns.
This place is more plentiful in Money, than most, or indeed any of the Plantations on the Continent; besides, they build a considerable Number of Vessels of Cedar, and other Wood, with which they trade to Cuirassau, and the West Indies; from one they bring Money, and from the other the Produce of their Islands, which yields a necessary Supply of both to the Colony. Their Stocks of Cattle are incredible, being from one to two thousand Head in one Man's Possession: These feed in the Savannas, and other Grounds, and need no Fodder in the Winter. Their Mutton and Veal is good, and their Pork is not inferior to any in America. As for Pitch and Tar, none of the Plantations are comparable for affording the vast Quantities of Naval Stores, as this Place does. There have been heretofore some Discoveries of rich Mines in the mountanous Part of this Country; but being remote from the present Settlement, and the Inhabitants not well vers'd in ordering Minerals, they have been laid aside 'till a more fit Opportunity happens. There are several noble Rivers, and spacious Tracts of rich Land in their Lordships Dominions, lying to the Southward, which are yet uninhabited, besides Port Royal, a rare Harbour and Inlet, having many Inhabitants thereon, which their Lordships have now made a Port for Trade. This will be a most advantageous Settlement, lying so commodiously for Ships coming from the Gulph, and the Richness of the Land, which is reported to be there. These more Southerly Parts will afford Oranges, Limons, Limes, and many other Fruits, which the Northerly Plantations yield not.
The merchants of Carolina are fair, frank Traders. The Gentlemen seated in the Country, are very courteous, live very nobly in their Houses, and give very genteel Entertainment to all Strangers and others, that come to visit them. And since the Produce of South and North Carolina is the same, unless Silk, which this place produces great Quantities of, and very good, North Carolina having never made any Tryal thereof as yet, therefore I shall refer the natural Produce of this Country, to that Part which treats of North Carolina, whose Productions are much the same. The Christian Inhabitants of both Colonies pretty equal, but the Slaves of South Carolina are far more in Number than those in the North. I shall now proceed to relate my Journey thro' the Country, from this Settlement to the other, and then treat of the natural History of Carolina, with other remarkable Circumstances which I have met with, during my eight Years Abode in that Country.