Tag Archives: 18th Century
The First White Men in the Shenandoah Valley

The First White Men in the Shenandoah Valley

On a summer’s day in the year 1716, Governor Alexander Spotswood, with a party of twenty or thirty horsemen, set cut from Williamsburg, the capital of the Virginia colony, to ascertain for himself what sort of country lay west and north of the great “Blue Mountains.” There was good reason to believe that several Indian tribes of uncertain friendship might be found there; and who else or what else nobody seemed quite certain, save the ignorant and superstitious, who declared that there were monsters and mysteries numerous and dreadful enough.

The Governor may have had predominantly in mind objects much more commonplace and practical than the simple clearing up of superstitions and mysteries. Doubtless the elements of romance and danger afforded a considerable stimulus toward a jaunt; but he must have been seriously in earnest about something, to undertake an expedition of nearly two hundred miles up country, past the very frontiers and into the wilderness.

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“Negro Generosity” in 1790 Jamaica

Jamaica, Feb. 5, 1790

The following are recent instances of negro generosity, notwithstanding we are too apt to consider them as mere stupid beasts of burden:

An estate under a heavy mortgage was sold from its owner, who soon after died, leaving a widow, a son, and two daughters in very distressed circumstances. The negroes (having been formerly well treated) had a meeting, and agreed to pay an annuity of half a bit a week, each, for the support of their old master’s family. Seeing the son, soon after, passing through the plantation in a ragged coat, they assembled again, and made up a purse of three pounds (equal to nine dollars) with which they bought cloth and linen to refit him. This was an extra bounty, not interfering with the stipend, which they continue to pay regularly.

Another planter was sued for a very considerable amount, in consequence of several protested bills. Judgment was obtained, and writs issued against the property, when the negroes assembled before the door with a large sum of money tied up in bags made of old stockings, and said, if that was insufficient, hey would try to borrow as much more from their friends and relations.

These instances prove, that negroes are not brutish in their nature, and by no means divested of the finer feelings.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.

Source: The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 17, 1790


Rules for Kings in 1773

The Virginia Gazette was the first newspaper published in Virginia and the first to be published in the area south of the Potomac River in the colonial period of the United States. Issues have the following subtitle: “Containing the freshest advices, foreign and domestick.

Rules for Kings

The conceptions of Kings are commonly as far above the vulgar as their conditions; for being higher elevated, and walking upon the battlements of sovereignty, they sooner receive the inspirations of Heaven. The greatest potentates of the earth are but weak, penetrable things; and, though somewhat refined and kneaded down from that coarser fort of stuff which goeth to the compositions of the citizens of the world, yet they are so much the more brittle ware, only they differ in their office, which nevertheless makes them to have far less to hope for than to fear.

How poor is that Prince, amidst all his wealth, whose subjects are only kept by a slavish fear, the gaoler of the soul. An iron arm, fastened with a screw, may be stronger, but never so useful, because not so natural as an arm of flesh, joined with muscles and sinews: So loving subjects are more serviceable, as being more kindly united to their Sovereign than those which are only forced on with fear and threatening.

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.


South Carolina Classified

These classified ads ran in the August 12, 1778 issue of The Gazette of the State of South Carolina.

To be disposed of at private Sale, very reasonable – A Likely Negro Man, who has always been used to the field till these three years past, since whichtime he has been used to attend a single man, and sometimes to work out. He is sold no fault, the owner having no occasion for him. -Enquire of the Printers.

Twenty Pounds Reward – RUN away the subscriber, on the 27th ult.a dark Mulatto man named Sam, a Shoemaker by trade; he has a large bushy head of hair, is 5 feet six inches high, well set, and had on when he went away, a straw hat, a plaid Jacket, white breeches,and Oznabrugs shirt. It is supposed he is either harboured about Charlestown, or near Mr. Weston’s plantation in the parish of Christchurch. Whoever brings him to me, or to the Warden of the Work-house, shall be entitled to the above reward.

Our South Carolina Newspapers collection contains a wealth of information on colonial and early American History and genealogy, and provides an accurate glimpse of life in South Carolina and America in the 18th century.


Major General Clinton’s Proclamation to North Carolina

This proclamation offering amnesty to rebels by Major General Clinton appeared in the June 19, 1776 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette.

By Major General Clinton, Commander of his Majesty’s Forces in the southern Provinces of North America.


WHEREAS a most unprovoked and wicked rebellion hath for some time past prevailed, and doth now exist, within his Majesty’s province of North Carolina, and the inhabitants (forgetting their allegiance to their Sovereign, and denying the authority of the laws and statutes of the realm) have, in a succession of crimes, proceeded to the total subversion of all lawful authority, usurping the powers of government, and erecting a tyranny in the hands of Congress and Committees of various denominations, utterly unknown and repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution; and divers people, in avowed defiance to all legal authority, are now actually in arms, waging unnatural war against their King; and whereas all attempts to reclaim the infatuated and misguided multitude to a sense of their error have unhappy proved ineffectual:

I have it in command to proceed forthwith against all such men, or bodies of men in arms, and against all such Congresses and Committees, thus unlawfully established, as against open enemies to the state. But, considering it a duty inseparable from the principle of humanity first of all to forewarn the deluded people of the miseries ever attendant upon civil war, I do most earnestly entreat and exhort them, as they tender their own happiness, and that of their posterity, to appease the vengeance of an injured and justly incensed nation, by a return to their duty to our common Sovereign, and to the blessings of a free government, as established by law; hereby offering, in his Majesty’s name, free pardon to all such as shall lay down their arms and submit to the laws, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon Cornelius Harnett and Robert Howe.

And I do hereby require, that the Provincial Congress, and all Committees of Safety, and other unlawful associations, be dissolved, and the judges allowed to hold their Courts according to the laws and constitution of this province; of which all persons are required to take notice, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost peril.

Given on board the Pallas transport, in Cape Fear river, in the province of North Carolina, the 5th day of May, 1776, and in the sixteenth year of his Majesty’s reign.

–H. Clinton.

By command of General Clinton,
To the Magistrates of the province of North Carolina, to be by them made public.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.