Tho' in the beginning of February some few Trees and smaller
Plants decorate the Woods with their Blossoms, yet the Spring makes
but slow Progress till the Beginning of April, when it advances
suddenly with frequent Rains.
In May, June and July, it rains not often but vehemently,
with much Lighting, and very loud Thunder, which produces numerous
Effects of its Vehemence on Trees split from Top to Bottom; but
as the Country is not populous the terrible Effects of these destructive
Phaenomena happen not very often on the Inhabitants.
At the latter End of July or August it rains in great
Quantities usually a Fortnight or three Weeks, overflowing all the
Savannah and lower Ground, at which time there appears wild
Fowls of various Sorts, particularly of the wading Kinds, which
retire at the Fall of the Water.
Usually once in about Seven Years these Rains are attended with
violent Storms and inundations, which commonly happen about the
time of the Hurricanes that rage so fatally amongst the Sugar Islands,
between the Tropicks, and seem to be agitated by them or
from the same Cause, but are much mitigated in their Force by the
time they reach Carolina; and tho' they affect all the Coast
of Florida, yet the further North they proceed, so much the
more they decrease in their Fury, Virginia not having often
much of it, and North of that still less. Tho' these Hurricanes
are seldom so violent as in the more Southern Parts, yet in September
1713, the Winds raged so furiously that it drove the Sea into Charles-town,
damaging much the Fortfications, whose Resistance it was thought
preserved the Town. Some low scituated Houses not far from the Sea
were undermined and carried away with the Inhabitants; Ships were
drove from their Anchors far within Land, particularly a Sloop in
North Carolina was drove three Miles over Marshes into the
Woods. Another in like Manner was drove on Land, and wedged in between
two Trees, the Hull of which in that Scituation I saw some Years
after, and to the best of my Memory the Keel was ten or twelve Feet
above the Ground: This last was in Ilathera, one of the Bahama
In Woods of Pine-Trees are frequently seen Glades or Openings,
occasioned by the Fall of Trees, which lie prostrate one Way, by
which is formed a straight and regular Avenue an hundred Feet wide,
more or less and some Miles long: These are likewise the Effects
of violent Gusts of Wind.
Those Parts of Carolina near the Sea are not always exempt
from Fogs, but the upper Parts of the Country are seldom otherwise
In February and March the Inhabitants have a Custom
of burning the Woods, which causes such a continual Smoke, that
not knowing the Cause it might be imagined to proceed from Fog,
or a natural Thickness in the Air: Likewise the Smoke of the Tar-Kilns
contribute not a little to deceive Strangers, and possesses them
with an ill Opinion of the Air of Carolina: Add to these,
an annual Custom of the Indians in their Huntings, of setting
the Woods on Fire many Miles in Extent.
The Northern Continent of America is much colder than those
Parts of Europe which are parallel to it in Latitude; this
is evident from the mortal Effects the Frosts have on many Plants
in Virginia, that grow and stand the Winters in England,
tho' 15 Degrees more North; and what more confirms this is the violent
and sudden freezing of large Rivers, as before-mentioned.
Admitting from these Circumstances, that in the northernmost Part
of our Island the Frosts are not more intense than in Virginia,
it will then appear that the Winters in Virginia, tho' in
the Latitude of 37 Degrees North, and parallel with the South Part
of Spain, are as cold as in the North Part of Scotland,
which is in the Latitude of 57, that is, 20 Degrees more North.
This great Disparity of Climate holds throughout our Northern Colonies:
Newfoundland, and the South of Hudson's Bay being
not habitable for Cold, tho' in the Latitude of the South Parts
The Frosts of Carolina and Virginia continue not
long without Intervals of warmer Weather, yet by their ill Effects
cause a Deficiency of many useful Productions which Countries in
the same Latitude in Europe are blessed with, such as Wine,
Oil, Dates, Oranges, and. many things impatient of hard Frost.
There has indeed of late been some Efforts towards the making of
Wine both in Virginia and Carolina, the Success of
which, time will discover.
Some Oranges there are in Carolina, but in the Maritime
Parts only. I never saw nor heard of one produced ten Miles from
Salt Water. Such is the great Difference of Temperature between
the Maritime Parts, and those lying distant from the Sea, as the
following Instance may serve to illustrate.
Accomack is a narrow Slip of Land in Virginia, having
the Sea on one Side, and the Bay of Chesapeck on the other
here I saw Fig-trees, with Trunks of a large Size, and of many Years
standing, without any Injury.