Page 1: Full view (235k)
Page 2: Full view (212k)
Page 3: Full view (201k)
Page 4: Full view (197k)
Page 5: Full view (210k)
Page 6: Full view (227k)
Date: January 1755
Call number: F222.v81 c67 Ser.3 Vol.3 (p. 380–89)
Report From Governor Dinwiddie On The Present State Of Virginia
Transmitted the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations
The Boundaries of the Dom:n of Virg.a, as they were first establish’d by the Charter of King James the 1st: Anno 1606 were from Cape Comfort, now called Cape Henry 200 Miles North along the Sea Coast, and the same Distance South from the same Cape, and West to the So. Sea, together with all Islands in both Seas lying within 100 Miles of the Main Land in wch Tract is comprehended [a] great Part of y.t wch is now called No. Carolina, all the Province of Myld & part of Pennsylvania. But the Boundaries of Virg.a as it is now circumscribed are to the East & So. East the main Atlantick Ocean; on the South, a due West line from the Mouth of the Curratuck Inlet wch lies in the Lat. of 36 D. & 30 M. divides Virg.a from No. Car. & on the No. a Line from the Sea, thro’ y.t Isthmus called the E. Shore to the Bay of Chesapeak opposite to y.t Point of Potowmack River called Watkins’s Point, which lies in Lat. 38 & thence the s.d River Potowmack divides this Colony from Maryl.d unto the true Meridian of the first Fountain of Potowmack, wch is the utmost Boundary of Myl’d Westward: And then Virg.a resumes its ancient Breadth & has no other Limits to the West yn w.t its first Royal Charter assign’d it; & y.t is to the So. Sea, including the Isl.d of California but according to its Breadth from the West Line wch divides it from No. Car. on the So. to the first Fountn of Potowmack on the No. it will extend on the Western side of Myld as far as the Latitude of 40 N.o & so northerly on the Back of Pennsylvania.
The Situatn is under the same Paralel with some of the finest Country’s in the World & undoubtedly the Cotry is capable of the same Product.s as the Fertility of the Soil is equal to any of them, since with little Labour every Thing is propagated wch the Planter has attempted. The Air is temperate, the extreme Heat in Sumer or Cold in Winter is but short of Duration as they are frequently relieved with intervening cold & warm Breezes. The Western Boundary, as yet is not well known, nor can it be expected to be fully known for some Ages. The British Subjects have for some Years settled within a few Miles of the River Ohio on the other side of the Allagany Mount.s wch Settlem.t was approved of by the Ind.s & a Grant of the Land was made to HM.y the K: of G:B: by the Six Nat.s at the Treaty of Lancaster, these settlem:s I was willing to fix as our pres.t Boundary to the Westw. d, as it is part of the Lands belong.g to the five Nat.s, wch, by the Treaty of Utritch is expressly allowed to be under the Dom.n of the Crown of G.B.: & as further, the Lake Champlain formerly called Lake Iroquois & the Cotry Sow.d of it, as also the Lakes Ontorio & Erie have, by all ancient authors both Fr. & English been allow’d to belong to the five Nat.s of Ind.s & in Course by the above Treaty to be under the Protectn of the B. Crown. Notwithstand.g the above Treaty the Fr. have subsequent thereto, built several Forts on the Lands belong.g to the Five Nat.s & a remarkable strong one at Crown Point to the So.w.d of Lake Champlain. The Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, confirmin.g the Treaty of Utritch, has no weight with the Fr. but it appears y.t the Conquest of y.e whole Cont.t seems to be the object of their Attentn – The Fr. since the above treaties have erected many Fortresses on the Lands belong.g to the Five Nat’s who are actually under the Pretect.n of G:B: & contrary to Law & Justice, erect these Forts as the Marks of Possessn & they have been constantly increasing their Forces by importing Numbers of People from France in a Private Manner, not to be notic’d, or observed by the Powers in Europe. They have for the last seven years robbed our Subjects trading with the Ind.s in our back Cotry & sent their Persons Prisoners to Quebeck all wch is a most notorious Infractn of the above Treaties. Not satisfied with these clandestine & private Robberies, they have now taken off the Mask, & y.s last Sumer declared in this part of the World y.r Intent.s I was ordered by H M.y to build some Forts on His lands on the River Ohio: In obedience thereto I ordered out some Soldiers & Tradesmen to begin a Fort on the Forks of Monongahela, till I was qualified by our assembly to send stronger Forces to y.t Fort, & to build some others. The Fr. with an armed Force from Canada came down the River Ohio, surpriz’d our People, took Possessn of His My’s Fort & robbed & plundered all our poor settlers y.t were near to y.t River, some of whom had lived peacibly there upwards of 10 Years. I raised w.t Men the small Pittance our Assembly granted in Feb.y last enabled me to do, who with an Independ.t Co.y H M.y was pleased to order from S.o Car. on their march to the Ohio were attacked by the Fr. & Ind.s with a much superior Force, many of our Men were killed & the rest obliged to such a Capitulatn as their inferiority of numbers & the situatn of their Affairs compelled them to comply with. These Transact.s in the Time of tranquil Peace between the two Crowns I conceive is with.t Preced.t, & I am convince.d there is no conduct.g an Expedit.n with.t Aid from Home & an Act of the B. Parliam.t to oblige the Colonies to raise Money for their own Protect.n But to retn to the pres.t State of Virg.a – The establish’d Constitutn of the Gov.t of Virg.a is as follows – A chief Gov.r appointed by His M.y who always resides in GB – A L.t Gov.r, appointed also by HM.y, who presides over the Affairs of Gov.t – A Council consist.g of 12 Gentn & appointed by Mandamus’s from H.My The Domn has now 50 Counties, who elect two Members for each Coty one for the College of W & M.y, one for the City of Wmsbg, one for Jas. Town & one for the Borough of Norfolk in all 104 Memb.s, who are called at Meet.g, the H.o Of Burgesses: The Lieut. Gov.r Council & Ho. of Burgesses are the Gen.l Assembly of this Colony, & are impowered to enact Acts for the good Gov.t of the Cotry – These Acts are duly transmitted to GB: soon after each Session, for His My’s Assent & Approbation w:n they receive HMy’s Sanctn they become Laws.
The administratn of Justice. First, There are in each Coty Courts held monthly by Persons comission’d by the Gov.r who have not only the Power of Justices of the Peace, but have Cognizance of all Suits of w.t value soever arising within their respective Jurisdict.s Both at Comon Law and in Chancery except only such criminal Offences as are punishable with the Loss of life or Member. And for the City of Wmsburg, there is a Court of Hustings held Monthly before the Mayor, Recorder & Aldermen for all Suits at comon Law aris.g within the Town, hav.g equal Jurisdictn in all Suits at comon Law with the County Courts. There is the like Court in the Bor.o of Norfolk; these are the inferior Courts in this Gov.t & from their Judgemen.t an Appeal lies to the Gen.l Court, The Appeallant giving Security to prosecute the same with effect – The Gen.l Court consists of the Gov.r & Members of the Council, any five whereof make a Quorum; this Court is held in Apr. & Oct.r, and has Jurisdict’n of all Causes real, Personal & mixt at comon Law bro.t hither originally exceeding the Value of £10 St.g or by Appeal or Supercedias (wch is in the Nature of a Writ of Error) from the inferior Courts, all criminal Offences are here tryable, & it is also a Court of Chancery for matters of great Value – But, by a late Act of Assembly, no Appeal or Supersedias lies from the Judgem.t or Decree of any inferior Court, unless the Debt or Damage or Thing in dem.d (exclusive of the Costs) exceeds the Value of 5£; Except.g only where the Title or Bounds of Lands are in Question; & from the Gen.l Court an Appeal lies to the King & Council in any Causes of 300£ St.g and upwards – Secondly. For the Prevent:n of long Imprisonm.t for Matters Criminal, there are two Courts of oyer & Terminer held Yearly; the one the second Tuesday in June, the other the second Tuesday in Dec.r wherein all Criminals y.t happen to be comitted after the respective Gen.l Courts are tried; the Judges here are only such as are Members of the Council, & sit by the Governor’s Comissn & pursuant to H My’s Instruct.s in y.t behalf – Thirdly. For the Punishm.t of Slaves commit.g Cappital Crimes, a Com.o of Oyer & Terminer is issued by the Gov.r directed to the Justices of the Peace in the Co.ty where the offence is comitted, to try the Offenders, on Proof of the Fact by Witnesses with.t any Jury & on Convictn the Comiss:rs award Execution & set a Value on the Slave wch Valuat:n is afterwards p.d the Owner by the Gen.l Assembly as an Encouragem.t to the People to discover the Villanies of their Slaves – Fourthly. For Breaches of the Acts of Trade, & for determine.g Controversies concern.g Mariners’ Wages & all Maritime Affairs, there is a Court of Adtmy, held before a Judge; Constituted by Comissnn under the Seal of the High Court of Ad[mira]lty of G.t Bn And to this Court belongs an Advocate, Register & a Marshal, appointed by the Gov’r, who is also by Com.o Vice Admiral of all the Sea Coasts, Rivers & Creeks within this Gov.t this Court is not held at any certain Time but is called and held as Business or Occasion may require & from this Court an Appeal lies to the King in Council – The Gov.r sh.d have a Com.o for trying of Pyrates none such to be found here tho’ I am inform’d my Predecessor had such a Com.n – There is a Court of the Comissary of the Bishop of London wch only related to the Punishm.t of the Imoralities of the Clergy & proceeds by Monition Suspension or Deprivation as the Nature of the offence deserves & from thence there lies an Appeal to the Deligates appointed by H:My’s Comiss:n in England – Having treated of the Courts of Justice of this Gov.t it may not be improper to mention here how H My’s Mercy is dispensed to Offenders who are proper objects thereof, & herein such is the Grace and Favo. of the Crown y.t the Gov.r is invested with a Power to pardon all Crimes and Offences, Treason & willful Murder only excepted, & in these he has a Power of reprieving untill, on a fair Representatn of the Circumstances of the Fact, the King is pleased to signify His Comds for pardoning or executing the Sentence. –
The Gov.r has also a Power to remit all Fines & Forfeitures occurring to the Crown under the Value of 10£ St.g & if above he may suspend the levying such Fines & Forfeitures untill H My’s Pleasure is known; but this Indulgence does not reach to the Inhabitants of the No.ern Neck, the Fines &c.a being granted to L.d Fairfax the Proprietor thereof – Thus much for the Civil Constitutn of this Domn so far as related to the making & Execut.g the Laws & the Administratn of Justice – For matters of State: there is a Council appointed by the King to be assisting to the Gov.r in all Things relating to the Kings Service, such as the disposing of his Lands, the managing of his Revenue, the appoint.g of Justices of the Peace Sheriff and Coroners, & other Officers of Trust, who receive the Comiss.s from the Gov.r
For the better ordering the Tributary Ind.s & mak.g War or Peace with foreign Indn Nat.s & various other Matters wch Concern the Publick Peace of the Gov.t & wch do not fall under the Directn of positive Laws.
The Trade of this Cotry is principally conducted by Ships from G:B: I suppose not less yn 120 Sail are loaded here annually, with the Produce of y.s Dom:n – The Trade exclusive of the above, consists of about sixty Sail, Ships, Scows, Brigantines, Schooners & Sloops, wch are navigated by 500 Sailors, besides the small Shallops wch are constantly employ’d in transport.g the Comodities from our River & in loading the Ships bound for G:B: The Trade in general has greatly increas’d for the last 10 Years & [is] chiefly supported as to the Shipping with Cordage, Sail Cloth, &c.a from Home. The People in y.s Domn are supplied from G:B: with all sorts of Woolen Manufactories such as B.d Cloth, Kersey, Duffills, Cottons, Crapes, Ruggs, Blankets, Norwich & other Stuffs Hatts Stocks Shoes & all sorts of Linens British Irish & Gurnsey, all sorts of Household Furniture & wear.g apparel, with Calicoes, Persians & other East India Goods, Sail Duck Cordage with all manner of Iron Ware as Locks Hinges Nails Carpenter’s Joiner’s & Smith’s Tools, Axes, Hoes, Anchors, Fire Arms – With Wines Spices Fruits Loaf Sugar, & Strong Beer & other Family Necessaries amotg to by Comput.tn 300,000[£] St.g – The Trade from y.s [Colony] is chiefly to GB: & the B: Colonies; some Times Staves Wheat & Indn Corn to Lisbon & the Islands of Madeira; from Lisbon the Remittances are made to GB: from Maderia they have Wine for their Goods. The Produce of this Cotry, and its am.o May be computed as follows.
50,000 Hhds of Tob.o @ 4£ per Hhd N.t, £ 200,000
10,000 bls Pitch & Tar @ 8s., -- -- 4,000
4,000 Tons Pig Iron @ £5., -- -- -- 20,000
Deer Skins and Furs, -- -- -- 20,000
40,000 Bush.s Wheat @ 2s. 6d -- -- 5,000
250,000 D.o Ind.n Corn @ 12d., -- -- 12,000
10,000 lbs Bees Wax @ 23d., -- -- 500
30,000 lbs Beef & Pork @ 40s., -- -- 60,000
Pipe Head.g bl. Staves with Shingles, 10,000
Snake Root Jenzang &c.a -- -- 2,000
This Colony has no Trade with any foreign Plantat.s except to some of the Dutch Islands of St. Eustatia & Curracoa, from thence they some Times smuggle in some Fr. Sugars and Rum: To prevent this the Collectors & Nav.l Officers are directed to be very careful in inspect.g their Clearances & search.g their Vessells; but the Co’try is so extensive with many Creeks & Bays y.t they run their Goods before they come to enter at the Custom H.o, but I cannot learn y.t much collusive Trade is carried on from this Dom:n
There are large Quantities of Iron Oar in many Places & some Furnaces for manufactur.g it fit to send to G B: some Appearances of Copper, but for want of proper Persons acquainted with Minerals the People don’t prosecute their Searches with Spirit; There are also Tin Lead & Anitmony in several Places near the Great Mount.s & I doubt not other rich Minerals but the want of Persons of Knowledge & Monied Men, these Discoveries must lie dormant for some Time – The number of Inhabitants from the most exact Acc.ts I can have of White & Black are 230,000 & the[y] Annually increase in Numbers – There are 50 Counties each has Coty L.t Col.o Lieu.t Col.o & Major & according to the Largeness of the Coty their militia is divided into Compa.s each Company hav.g a Cap.t Lieu.t & Ensign & our Militia may now am.o to 27,000 Men from 21 to 60 Years of Age. In order to bring the Militia into good Discipline & a proper Use of their Arms, I divided this Dom:n into four Districts & appointed experience’d Persons to be Adjutants, to tech the officers & yn the private Men their Exercise, wch I hope, will in Time bring the Militia into good Order & Discipline; for our whole Dependence (under God) must be on them. For we have no Forts in y.s Dom:n there was one erected at the mouth of Ja.s River, but as it was built on a Sandy Foundatn the Sea & Weather destroy’d it, [so] y.t the Guns lie dismounted & of no Use. There are two small Batteries on York River, but are only of Service to protect the Merch.t Ships in y.t River & of no Defence agst an Enemy y.t have Force sufficient to attack them by Land, or a Ship Force to run up the River may demolish them both. And I wish the Colony was in good Circumstances to build Forts of some better Materials than Wood; but the small Funds wch the Assembly here is able to raise are not equal to so considerable an Undertaking; & in War with.t some of H My’s Ships of War, y.s Domin:n w.d be subject to the Insults of Small Privateers, This is highly worthy of serious consideratn. – Indians. The tributary Ind.s subject to the Rules of this Gov.t are much reduced & very inconsiderable there are at pres.t only the Pamunkey and Nottaways their numbers together are not above 60 fight.g Men they are seated among the Inhabitts & live in Peace & Amity with them. The other Nat.s of Ind.s y.t are near us & profess Frdship and League with the English are the Six Nat.s to the No.wards, the Catawbas Cherokees Chickasaws & Creeks to the S.ow.d – The different Nat.s on the River Ohio the Picts Twightwees & Shawnesse to the Westw.d if they be not seduced now by the Fr. Who are between us and them. This Colon has always been happy & firm Peace with the Ind.s till lately the Fr. Have by Threats & fair Promises seduces some of the Ind’s from the B. Interest & with great injustice invaded H My’s Lands, plundered & Robbed many of his Subjects & carried many of them to Quebeck. The Fr. do not make regular Settlem.ts but build Fortresses as marks of Possession with.t Justice or any Shadow of Right to the Lands where they build their Forts, and make Incursions among our frontiers Settlem:ts (who lie scattered for the Benefit of the best Lands) & rob them of their Cattle Corn &ca and often murder them: This is the miserable Situatn of this Colony at pres.t & with.t Aid from GB: by the Infatuation & Neglect of the Assemblies on this Cont.t must remn a Prey to the Enemy’s Depredations. The Revenue within y.s Domn 2s. on every Hh.d of Tob.o exported, abat.g an Allowance of 10 P C.t to Masters of Vessells for pay.g it in Bills of Exch.a – 2dly Fifteen Pence P Ton on all Ships & Vessells trad.g here comonly called Port Duties. 3dly. Six Pence P Head on every Passenger imported. 4ly. Fines & Forfeitures for Breaches of the Penal Laws, Contempts of Courts of Justice, Breaches of the Peace, or Convictn of Felons or Tresspasses. 5ly. Rights for tak.g up Lands, wch is 5s for every 50 Acres – The three first Branches of the Revenue are appropriated by the Act of Assembly for rais.g the same, as are also the Forfeitures for Breaches of the penal Laws, for & towards the Support of Gov.t & its Contingent Cha.s & for maintain.g Forts & Fortifications. The casual Fines and Forfeitures in the fourth Branch were first appropriated to the Support of Gov.t by Warr.t from King Cha.s the 2.d & have continued so ever since. The last Branch of Rights for Land was establish’d by Order of the Gov.r & Council in the Year 1699 to supply the defect of Importatn Rights on which only People were then entitled to take up Lands & since y.t Time it has made a considerable Addit.n to the Revenue: All these Revenu.s together amo.t Comunibus Annis to ab.t 6,500£.
The establish’d Exp.s of Gov.t includ.g Gov.r & Council & other Officer’s Salarys, amots to Yearly, as by particular Acc.t below, to 4345£ – The extra Exp.s Incidents &c.a are not easily to be computed, because they rise & fall as the Exigences of Gov.t require, & at pres.t are very high, by [reason of] Messengers Expresses, Repairs of Govrs H.o & other Incidents, as also Alarms of Invas.s from Ind.s or other great Exp.s in Pres:ts to Ind.s repair.g Fortificat.s & many other Affairs y.t makes me incapable to fix any annual Sum on those different Duties & Services wch now amo:ts to a considerable Sum.
The Establism.t now p.d out of the stand.g Revenue are as follows.
The Govr’s Salary P Ann …..……....2,000 –
Gen.t of the Council P Warr.t…….....1,200 –
Judges & Officers of O & Ter. Courts...100 –
Auditor Gen.l of Plantat.s P Warr.t ...…200 –
Solicitor of Virg.a Affairs …………...…70 –
King’s Atto.y Gen.l ………………...…100 –
Bro.t Forw.d ……………………….3870 –
Four Adjutts each 100£ …………….400 –
Armourer …………………………….12 –
Gunners of Forts ……………………..47 –
An Allaw:ce for Ministers to Preach
Before The Gen.l Court ……………...16 –
A further Allowance for each Sermon preached before the Gen.l Assembly. The Recr Gen.l holds his Place by Pat.t from H M’y & is allowed 5 P C.t on all the Money he receives. The Deputy Auditor acts by Com.o from the Auditor Gen.l of the Plantat.s & has in lieu of Salary 5 P C.t on all the Money he audits. The Bishop of London’s Comissary has an annual Salary out of H My’s Quit Rents, of 100£ P Ann. The King’s Atto.y Gen.l has also an additional Salary from the same Fund of 70£ P Ann. These are the only establish’d Cha.s on the stand.g Revenue. The foregoing is a true state of the Dom.n of Virg.a in the different Branches of its Constitutn