[British Surveyor-General of North Carolina. d. 1711.]
Exact Description and Natural History
Together with the Present State thereof.
Of a Thousand Miles, Travel'd thro' several
Nations of INDIANS.
Giving a particular Account of their Customs,
By John Lawson, Gent. Surveyor-General of North Carolina.
To His Excellency
WILLIAM Lord CRAVEN, Palatine;
The most Noble, HENRY Duke of BEAUFORT;
The Right Hon-ble JOHN Lord CARTERET;
The Hon-ble MAURICE ASHLEY, Esq;
Sir JOHN COLLETON, Baronet,
JOHN DANSON, Esq;
And the rest of the True and Absolute
Province of Carolina in America.
As Debts of Gratitude ought most punctually to be paid, so, where the Debtor
is uncapable of Payment, Acknowledgments ought, at least, to be made.
I cannot, in the least, pretend to retaliate Your Lordships Favours to me,
but must farther intrude on that Goodness of which I have already had
so good Experience, by laying these Sheets at Your Lordships Feet,
where they beg Protection, as having nothing to recommend them, but Truth;
a Gift which every Author may be Master of, if he will.
I here present Your Lordships with a Description of your own Country,
for the most part, in her Natural Dress, and therefore less vitiated
with Fraud and Luxury. A Country, whose Inhabitants may enjoy
a Life of the greatest Ease and Satisfaction, and pass away their Hours
in solid Contentment.
Those Charms of Liberty and Right, the Darlings of an English Nature,
which Your Lordships grant and maintain, make you appear Noble Patrons
in the Eyes of all Men, and we a happy People in a Foreign Country;
which nothing less than Ingratitude and Baseness can make us disown.
As Heaven has been liberal in its Gifts, so are Your Lordships
favourable Promoters of whatever may make us an easy People;
which, I hope, Your Lordships will continue to us and our Posterity;
and that we and they may always acknowledge such Favours,
by banishing from among us every Principle which renders Men
factious and unjust, which is the hearty Prayer of,
Your Lordships most obliged,
and most devoted Servant,
'Tis a great Misfortune, that most of our Travellers, who go to
this vast Continent in America, are Persons of the meaner Sort,
and generally of a very slender Education; who being hir'd by the Merchants,
to trade amongst the Indians, in which Voyages they often spend
several Years, are yet, at their Return, uncapable of giving
any reasonable Account of what they met withal in those remote Parts;
tho' the Country abounds with Curiosities worthy a nice Observation.
In this Point, I think, the French outstrip us.
First, By their Numerous Clergy, their Missionaries being obedient
to their Superiors in the highest Degree, and that Obedience
being one great Article of their Vow, and strictly observ'd
amongst all their Orders.