Lot 4: [ Americana ] Group of nine letters, 1701-1709, written by one of the earliest families of Charles Town (founded 1670), in the Carolina Colony of
March 13, 2003
Burlington, NC, USA
Description: [ Americana ] Group of nine letters, 1701-1709, written by one of the earliest families of Charles Town (founded 1670), in the Carolina Colony of America. Six of these letters are from Elizabeth Hyrne to Burrell Massenburgh, brother of Elizabeth of London, England, pertaining to business and events of the colony, three letters are from her husband Edward, one while in London, some with rare postal markings, two of Elizabeth's letters are incomplete, though with good content. This grouping includes a scarce list of The several Commodities that Carolina produceth, 3p. folio, docketed 1701, from Edward Hyrne with integral address to Massenburgh, it lists the commodities along the left margin with detailed description in the main body of the text, in part as follows: RICE...Of several Sorts, they have planted this year as great quantity of a large sort....SILK. .Mulberry Trees in 3 or 4 years come to that perfection as to bear good store of leaves to feedy ye worms...LAND...The Land here (as in other places) differs in Fertility, being some Sand Clay, Black Mould, & Swamps with some very fine Savannahs...PASTURES...Those People that have great Stocks of Cattle, have large Ranges for them in ye Woods; & in their Old Fields near their Houses...GRASS...Their Grass here is generally of a tough & knotty kind, much like what our woods & Copps in England bear in their old Fields it is something finer & mixed with a kind of natural clover...RIVERS... I mention not ye Rivers & ye convenience of Water. Carriage for which I refer you to the Map of ye Country...COTTON & INDICO...Have been planted here but not with so good success as could be wished however while their Seed was fresh it answered very well; but they must have fresh seed & fresh ground every year or else they will not do...RAW HIDE, TALLOW, BUTTER, & PROVISIONS &c...Are plenty here, a great many Ships loaded with those commodities & carry them to Barbados, Jamaica, & to all the Leeward Islands where they commonly sell well...PITCH, TAR, TURPENTINE, & ROSIN...May be had here in any Quantity, if there were a Market to take them off, England is too far distant & ye Northern Countries serve that Market cheaper than we can get ours freighted...CEDAR-PLANK & TIMBER...Is here very plenty & might be afforded cheap enough, if there were encouragement to bring it into England; at present it pays as Sweet-Wood which is an unreasonable duty. The People here build ships with it, & use a great deal of it about their Houses...MASTS & YARDS...Of any Dimension & in great plenty may be had, and some of very fine Cyprus...ENGLISH & INDIAN- PEAS & INDIAN CORN...For which ye Western & Leeward Islands are always a certain Market they are exceedingly good & in great plenty...ENGLISH-WHEAT BARLY RYE OATS &c.. These have been planted here & grow very well but Rice & other Commodities have turned to better Profits to ye Planter, which have made those commodities neglected (in my opinion to the great Prejudice of ye whole Country)...HOPS, HEMP & FLAX...Will grow here very well, but those being Commodities that commonly sell at very low Prices & this Country having no idle People to manufacture them to yet best advantage; they are generally neglected & slighted...SKINS and FURS... Are here plenty but ye Price being so low in England there is no encouragement for that Trade...WOOL...Sheeps Wool, very Fine, but in Small Quantities...MIRTLE-BERRY-WAX...Is here to be made in great plenty & cheap at about 4 or 6 yds they make Candles of it here, which sell very well at Barbados, Jamaica, &c...WINE...Is yet in its Infancy but by ye indefatigable Industry of Sr. Nath. Johnson is brought to that Perfection that here is not Doubt but it will be a commodity here & will turn to good Accot if not for Sale, it will make good Brandy and sell here at good Rates...MARBLE, COALS, SILVER, &C...Are here, but lying in ye Mountains at a Great distance from ye Sea-Side...DRUGS ..Of several Sorts but not so good as in Turkey & India...BRICK AND LIME...Are made here very good, ye Earth being very good for ye former & plenty of Oyster Shells for ye latter...TRADE...This Country hath within these 3 4 years met with three such disappointments as would make a man think it were almost impossible to surmount them; viz. Ye Small Pox, the Fire, & ye late dreadful sickness, of which abundance dyed; yet notwithstanding, they have enlarged & extended their Trade further than could be expected from so small a number, or rather a handful of People, viz, to ye Bay of Comapeche, they sent this last year 6 Sail of Brigantines & Sloops, which brought about 50 tons of Logwood each; they have & will load this year for England directly, 15 Sail with ye Commodities above mentioned & ye Products of their West- India-Trade; besides their Trade is ye Madera-Islands for Wine & New Providence for Salt, and Braziletts Wood...INDIAN-TRADE...Sells best, but commonly for long Credit or, at very low Prices if ready Money... MANUFACTURES...Are & may be multiplied ad Infinitum, here being Materials of all Sorts for Workmen to work upon were there but advent for them...TRADESMEN TO BRING...Smiths, House & Ship Carpenters, Coopers, Tanners, Shoemakers, Taylors, Bricklayers, Brickmakers, Joyners, Sadlers, Glovers, Leather Dressers, Plaisterers, Turners, Tallow-Chandlers, Sailmakers, &c. would all do very well here... HOUSEHOLD GOODS...All except Wood-Work is very necessary to bringth you glass, Lead, & Iron for your own use...EUROPEAN GOODS... Anchors, Cables, Cordage, Sail-Cloth, & Ironwork for Shipping will turn to good Accompt ye Country is at present glutted with them, so that ye Mercht can sell them but to little Advantage, yet ye Shopkeepers commonly selling them to ye Planters, & giving long credit they are sold at extravagant prices...LION-DOLLARS...Are at present ye best Commodity you can bring over & may be purchased in England...GARDEN-SEEDS SALT.. You may bring of all Sorts for your own Use, but not to sell. Has been attempted to be made here but with no Success; ye Charge & Accidents with Ye Price of that Commodity being the Chief Impediments of that Work...A SAW MILL...Has been attempted also but with out success, being few or no conveniences for a Water-Mill & a Windmill is too chargeable. To tell you ye Methods of managing their Plantations here would be too tedious, but at your arrival every honest Planter will be ready to give ye his best Advice & Information. Thus have given ye as Full an Accompt. of ye Country as I could get, all I can further add is that a short Acct of Ye Place sent by ye late Honble Judge Bohan to his Son in England; who is now here & my particular friend...Bless God ..& all brought with me had our Health very well & so would Men have it they would live temperately; it is a fine, sweet, soft Air, not excessive Hot or Cold; ye Earth is fruitfull to a wonder, & ye Fruits as good as man can imagine & theres is plenty of all things needful to ye Life of Man, or to his Pleasure; only we want Hads & Industry & a Competenet Stock to begin with... Seal tears, do not affect text, else Fine. With PENNY POST PAYD postal mark. ...plus; Autograph Letter Signed, Edward Hyrne, 3p. folio, Charles Town, May 16 & June 27, 1701, addressed to his brother-in-law, in part: ...Capt Martin who (tho not ready so soon) had ye good Fortune to get over this Bar 5 or 6 Days before Capt. Flauel, drawing less water & not meeting with same obstructions, ye other did. Yesterday arrived here ye Friends - Adventure from London Capt. Cole Commander in 9 Weeks,...tis now 5 Months complete since my poor wife arrived here, has greatly longed all this while for a Ship from London, but now One is arrived & no News from you nor any of her Friends...Extremity for want of Money which has necessitated me to embrace an Opportunity which now offers of drawing a bill upon you for a small sum for our present subsistence ..[I send the letter with] Mr. Stephens coming for England in ye George (a new ship of about 80 tons built here) Richd Cock Mastr but is to touch at ye Tercera-Islands, Bilboa & Rotterdam to sell her Cargoe of Rice, Hides & c....I take notice...how ready you are to catch at any thing I write that may seem to admit that so small a Sum as 100 will buy us a Plantation to subsist us all in this country...I was to enquire about such a Plantation as I rit of & was asked 150 for it & no less only he said if I paid him ready Money he would abate something of it...but do you think this Plantation could subsist us with out improvement with out Hands to manure it or could you [imagine] that my Self & your Sister were able to dig & hoe & clear ye Ground, and Sow, & Plant it when we had done...I have not yet made full Nine Pounds, Carolina Money. True it is if she had brought a cargoe of some such goods as I have formerly writ for, she might have made such Proffits, as you have mentioned but ye Country being over stockd with Goods, they would have sold slowly, & must have trusted some a long while fro ye Money...we had lived for near 5 weeks together on Rice & Indian Corn & Peas, only, with out tasting Flesh, Fish or Fowel...I have not half Money enough left to pay my House rent .. With additional 10+ lines in Elizabeths hand, in part: ...Perhaps because I mentioned nothing of our sad condition to Aunt Hall you may thing what my Husband write is only to secure money out of our relations but I assure you it is to me besides...my Husband...is very ill... Fine...plus; ALS, Elizabeth Hyrne, 2p. folio, Charles Town, March 13, 1703/4, to her brother with content mentioning their slaves, it reads in part: ...I think I have been very particular in letting you know all the things concerning our affairs in this place which I had a great prospect of being very good in time for we had a good house & plants & stock of horses & cattle as I thought it seemed to me as if God was a blessing us for our stock increased dayly & the last year we had a very good crop for the five slaves we had to work as could be expected harvesting but four slaves & one of ye Cattle hunter but I will be as particular as I can in letting you know what trouble we have met with since last planting time...I baptized Henry on the 20 of ye same instant, we lost a Negro man by the bite of a rattlesnake which was a very great lost to us being just in the height of weeding the rice. On ye 21 of August lost my Dear little son which went very near to me, in September we lost our Cattle hunter. But the greatest of all our losses...was on the 12 day of January last on which we was burned out of all our house taking fire.... Fine...plus; ALS, Elizabeth, 1p. folio, 1709, in part: ...Black Pepper has been sold here very lately for fourteen shillings and twelve pence a pound & never it under five Shillings...If you will ...consent that my Husband should have three or four hundred pounds to bring hither, which I think is but a small request considering it is but part of my own.. [it] will take part of the money so that we have but some more Slaves to work the plantation in order to sell the rest of the money in a full year which may be very easily done I am well assured you will agree to this small request... ALS, Elizabeth, 1p. folio, Charles Town August 19, 1709, in part: ...I intend God willing to come for England in order to which I have taken my passage in a Sloop bound for Plymouth...I write this for fear we shall not arrive safe aft our desired port......plus; ALS, Edward Hyrne, 2p. folio, London, September 29, 1709, and reads in part: ...[After receiving no reply from Massenberg] I take it for a bad Omen, has not discouraged me from making this one attempt more, to try whether you are positively bent to ruin me, or whether you will exhort yourself now, at this critical juncture, in order to prevent it; it will appear which way you stand affected by ye Resolution you shall take upon ye receipt of this letter, it is to no Purpose to stand arguing pro & con by writing, which we may do to Eternity...but if you do really desire ye well being of your Sister & me, you will ay aside all Busyness & forthwith come to Town, ye Ships for Carolina, being almost ready to depart...I am weary with laying here starving & willing to conserve my Place in Carolina... Fine. An outstanding grouping of Colonial Carolina letters Very Rare from this early date.