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In continuing our work for another year, we have only to say that we propose to conduct it on something of a new plan; or, at least, to introduce some new features into it, which we hope will make it still more generally acceptable to our readers. In the first place, we intend to give them more continuous narratives of particular portions of our history, and fewer documents, which we apprehend some of them cannot properly relish. And, secondly, we shall submit a series of extracts from books of travels in our colony and state, at different periods of her progress, which cannot fail, we should think, to be highly interesting to many of her citizens.
For the rest, we have only to commend our work to the continued favor of-the members of the Virginia Historical Society, and of any others who may appreciate its object, and perhaps take some pleasure in aiding its design.
[We take the following paper from a tract entitled a "History of the Dividing Line : Run in the year 1728," which we have heretofore mentioned as one of the “Westover Manuscripts," written by Col. William Byrd, the second, of that place, shortly after the time of the transaction, and published by Edmund Ruffin, Esq., in 1841. (See V. H. R. vol. 4th, p. 76.) We think our readers will find it both instructive and interesting. ]
Before I enter upon the journal of the line between Virginia and North Carolina, it will be necessary to clear the way to it, by showing how the other British colonies on the Main have, one after another, been carved out of Virginia, by grants from his majesty's royal predecessors. All that part of the northern American continent now under the dominion of the king of Great Britain, and stretching quite as far as the cape of Florida, went at first under the general name of Virginia. The only distinction, in those early days, was, that all the coast to the southward of Chesapeake bay was called South Virginia, and all to the northward of it, North Virginia.
The first settlement of this fine country was owing to that great ornament of the British nation, Sir Walter Raleigh, who obtained a grant thereof from queen Elizabeth of ever-glorious memory, by letters patent, dated March the 25th, 1584. But whether that gentleman ever made a voyage thither himself is uncertain; because those who have favoured the public with an account of his life mention nothing of it. However, thus much' may be depended on, that sir Walter invited sundry persons of distinction to share in his charter, and join their purses with his in the laudable project of fitting out a colony to Virginia. Accordingly, two ships were sent away that very year, under the command of his good friends Amidas and Barlow, to take possession of the country in the name of his royal mistress, the queen of England. These worthy commanders, for the advantage of the trade winds, shaped their course first to the Charibbe islands, thence stretching away by the gulf of Florida, dropped anchor not far from Roanoke inlet. They ventured ashore near that place upon an island now called Colleton island, where they set up the arms of England, and claimed the adjacent country in right of their sovereign lady, the queen; and this ceremony being duly performed, they kindly invited the neighbouring Indians to traffick with them. These poor people at first approached the English with great caution, having heard much of the treachery of the Spaniards, and not knowing but these strangers might be as treacherous as they. But, at length, discovering a kind of good nature in their looks, they ventured to draw near, and barter their skins and furs for the bawbles and trinkets of the English.
These first adventurers made a very profitable voyage, raising at least a thousand per cent. upon their cargo. Amongst other Indian commodities, they brought over some of that bewitching vegetable, tobacco. And this being the first that ever came to England, sir Walter thought he could do no less than make a present of some of the brightest of it to his royal mistress, for her own smoking. The queen graciously accepted of it, but finding her stomach sicken after two or three whiffs, it was presently whispered by the earl of Leicester's faction, that sir Walter had certainly poisoned her. But her majesty soon recovering her disorder, obliged the countess of Nottingham and all her maids to smoke a whole pipe out amongst them.
As it happened some ages before to be the fashion to saunter to the Holy Land, and go upon other Quixote adventures, so it was now grown the humour to take a trip to America. The Spaniards had lately discovered rich mines in their part of the West Indies, which made their maritime neighbours eager to do so too. This modish frenzy being still more inflamed by the charming account given of Virginia, by the first adventurers, made many fond of removing to such a paradise. Happy was he, and still happier she, that could get themselves transported, fondly expecting their coarsest utensils, in that happy place, would be of massy silver. This made it easy for the company to procure as many volunteers as they wanted for their new colony; but, like most other undertakers who have no assistance from the public, they starved the design by too much frugality; for, unwilling to launch out at first into too much expense, they shipped off but few people at a time, and those but scantily provided. The adventurers were, besides, idle and extravagant, and expected they might live without work in so plentiful a country. These wretches were set ashore not far from Roanoke inlet, but by some fatal disagreement, or laziness, were either starved or cut to pieces by the Indians.