20
I
cood wish Bro. Miles were w’th me Just now, for Tomorrow’s light I set out
upon an Indian Voiage, in ord’r to follow a shallop’s load off Indian goods,
w’ch I sent away about 2 month ago for Cape Fare River. Bro. Miles… w’ch
voyage wood make him an expert Carolina Coaster, & Insure him soe far to ye
Customes & language off y Heathen, as to make him a well qualify’d Ind.
Trader, by w’ch Imploym’t (si adest fortune, & fortune comes)… he may secure
for himselfe a Comfortable being in ye world. Iff he comes, he shall not want
Imploymet. (Isenbarger 2013 p. 94)
Once the skins and furs returned to the merchants they were transported
on larger ships to larger port cities like Boston and Philadelphia. There
furs would be sold, exchanged for other goods, and eventually even find
their way to London where beaver hats were popular. Sloop Speedwell’s
bill of lading from Port Roanoke records shows a wide range of furs and
skins.
Established colonists with pine plantations and also new immigrants
wanting to enter into the naval stores industry were motivated by Queen
Anne’s incentives in the 1705 Naval Stores Act. She was sending much
of the country’s gold and silver to Finland and Sweden for tar and pitch
for her Royal Navy warships as well as for commercial vessels and the
Queen wanted a cheaper source. The new incentive for Carolina colonials
was £4 a ton for tar, £ 3 a ton for resin and turpentine, and £ 6 a ton for
hemp.
“The planter” explained naturalist John Brickell who visited Carolina
“makes their Servants or Negroes cut large Cavities on each side of the
Pitch Pine Tree wherein the Turpentine runs… the turpentine drained
into containers near the bottom of the tree, where, according to Brickell,
the negroes with ladles take it out and put it into barrels.” An observer
in 1765 claimed “one Negro will tend 3000 boxed trees which will rendr
about 100 Barrls. Terpentin.” Tar kilns burned pine logs to make tar, a
process which generally produced 160 to 180 barrels of tar. Black
laborers stored pitch, like turpentine and tar, in thirty two gallon barrels,
which could be hauled in boats or wagons or rolled down to the docks.
Every plantation had a cooperage with a skilled cooper to make casks,
barrels, buckets and hogsheads.
James Murray an early Cape Fear resident, wrote these words of advice
to a London acquaintance: “If you intend to do any business here a
Cooper and a Craft that will carry about 100 barrels will be absolutely
necessary.” Small sailing craft, flat boats and large canoes or pirogues
brought naval stores produced on the plantations downriver to the
wharves for export (source Natives and Newcomers, the Way We lived
in North Carolina before 1770, Ed. Sidney Nathans).
As early as 1715, the NC General
Assembly declared the official value of
British, Spanish, and other European
silver and gold coins to be higher than
their intrinsic bullion value in the hope
that these coins would flow into the
colony. The British parliament
subsequently made it illegal to rate coins
at over one-third of their bullion value.
Proclamation paper money was
essentially a way of standardizing and
setting consistent values for a wide
variety of currencies and commodities
that served as money in the colony:
essentially IOUs to cover the cost of
necessary public works, such as
fortifications. They were to be
withdrawn from circulation when they
were returned to the colony in
payment of taxes, and the government
would burn the bills. The government
issued its first paper money in 1712
(£4,000 in bills of credit) and more the
following year. Since there was
no printer in North Carolina at the
time, all bills issued in 1715, 1722, and
1729 were handwritten. Thereafter,
printed bills were used to finance forts
and equip troops against Spanish and
French.
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