Ch. 7. VOICES –What John Lawson the Botanist and Surveyor-General Saw
John Lawson’s A New Voyage to Carolina Ed Hugh T. Lefler 1967 The University of North Carolina Press
Chapel Hill.
The full title of Lawson’s book is A New Voyage to Carolina: Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of that Country
Together with the Present State thereof. And A Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel’d thro’ several Nations of Indians, Giving a
particular Account of their Customs and Manners, etc.
p. 70 Lawson on Five Inlets and Havens (ports) of this Country
The Bar of Currituck being the Northernmost of this Country, presents itself first to be treated of. It lies in 36 deg 30 min.
and the Course over is SW by W having not above seven or eight foot on the bar, tho’ a good Harbour, when you are over,
you may ride safe, and deep enough… but this part of the sound is so full of Shoals, as not to suffer anything to trade thro’
it, that draws above three Foot Water, which renders it very incommodious. However this affects but some part of the
Country, and may be easily remedied, by carrying their Produce, in small Craft One great Advantage of North Carolina is,
that we are not a frontier and near the enemy; which proves very chargeable and troublesome.
Ronoak Inlet has Ten Foot Water; the course over the Bar is almost W which leads you thro’ the best of the Channel. This
Bar, as well as Currituck, often shifts by the Violence of the North East Storms, both lying expos’d to those Winds.
Notwithstanding, which, a considerable Trade might be carried on, provided there was a Pilot to bring them in; for it lies
convenient for a large part of this Colony, Lat 35 deg 50 min.
The Inlet of Hatteras lies to the Westward of the Cape, round which is an excellent Harbor. When the Wind blows hard at
N or NE if you keep a small League from the Cape Point you will have 3, 4, and 5 fathom, the outermost Shoals lying
about 7 or 8 leagues from SHoar. As you come into the Inlet, keep close to the South Breakers, till you are over the Bar
where you will have two Fathom at Low Water. You may come to an Anchor in two Fathom and a Half when you are
over, then steer over close aboard the North Shoar, where is four Fathom.
Ocacok is the best Inlet and Harbour yet in this Country: and has 13 Foot at Low water upon the Bar. There are two
Channels: one is but narrow, and lies close aboard the south cape; the other in the Middle, viz. between the Middle
Ground and the South Shoar, and is above half a Mile wide. The Bar itself is but half a Cable’s length over, and then you
are in 7 or 8 Fathom Water; a good Harbour. The Course into the Sound in N N W. At high water, and Neap tides, here is
18 foot water. It lies SW from Hatteras Inlet Lat 35 8”
Topsail Inlet is above two Leagues to the westward of Cape Lookout. You have a fair channel over the Bar, and two
Fathom theron, and a good Harbour in five or six Fathom to come to an anchor. Your course over this Bar is almost NW
Lat 35 44.” Source http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-colonial/1976
p.167 Lawson on trade; It lies as convenient for Trade as any of the Plantation in America, that we have plenty of Pitch,
Tar, skins of Deer, and Beeves, furs, rice, wheat, rie, Indian grain, sundry sorts of pulse, turpentine Rozin, masts, yards
Planks and Boards staves and Lumber, timber of many common sorts, fit for any uses; hemp flax, barley, oats, buck wheat
beef, port, tallow hides, whalebone and oil, wax, cheese, butter, …. For trade, we lie so near to Virginia, that we have the
Advantage of their Convoys; as also Letters from thence, in two or three Days at most, in some places in as few Hours.
Add to this, that the great number of ships which come within those Capes, for Virginia and Maryland, take off our
Provisions, and give us Bills of Exchange for England which is Sterling Money. The Planters in Virginia and Maryland
are forc’d to do the same, the great Quantities of Tobacco that are planted there, making Provisions scarce; and Tobacco is
a Commodity oftentimes so low, as to bring nothing, whereas Provisions and Naval Stores never fail of a Market.
Besides where these are raised, in such Plenty as in Carolina, there always appears good Housekeeping, and Plenty of all
manner of delicate Eatables. We can go out with our Commodities to any other part of the West Indies or elsewhere, in
the Depth of Winter; whereas those in New England, New York Pennselvania and Colonies to the Northward of us cannot
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