[Sidenote] Seth Sothell chosen governor. [Sidenote] His oppression and expulsion.
During these public commotions Seth Sothell, pretending to be a proprietor by virtue of some regulations lately made in England, usurped the government of the colony. At first the people seemed disposed to acknowledge his authority, while the current of their enmity ran against Landgrave Colleton; and as he had stood forth as an active and leading man in opposition to that governor, and ratified the law for his exclusion and banishment: but afterwards, finding him to be void of every principle of honour and honesty, they persecuted him also with deserved and implacable enmity. Such was the insatiable avarice of this usurper that his popularity was of short duration. Every restraint of common justice and equity was trampled upon by him; and oppression, such as usually attends the exaltation of vulgar and ambitious scramblers for power, extended her rod of iron over the distracted colony. The fair traders from Barbadoes and Bermuda were seized as pirates by order of this popular governor, and confined until such fees as he was pleased to exact were paid him: bribes from felons and traitors were accepted to savour their escape from the hands of justice: plantations were forcibly taken possession of, upon pretences the most frivolous and unjust, and planters were compelled to give bonds for large sums of money, to procure from him liberty to remain in posession of their property. These, and many more acts of the like atrocious nature, did this rapacious governor commit, during the short time of his administration, to increase his fees as governor and proprietor. At length the people, weary of his grievous impositions and extortions, agreed to take him by force, and ship him off for England. Then, to his other ill qualities he added meanness of spirit, and humbly begged of them liberty to remain in the country, promising to submit his conduct to the trial of the assembly at their first meeting. When the assembly met, thirteen different charges were brought against him, and all supported by the strongest evidence: upon which, being found guilty, they compelled him to abjure the government and country for ever. An account of his infamous and wicked conduct was drawn up and sent to the proprietors, which filled them with astonishment and indignation. He was ordered to England, to answer the accusations brought against him before the palatine's court, and, in case of refusal, was given to understand it would be taken as a further evidence and confirmation of his guilt. The law for disabling Landgrave James Colleton from holding any authority civil or military in Carolina, was repealed, and strict orders were sent out to the grand council, to support the power and prerogative of the proprietors. To compose the minds of the people, they declared their detestation of such unwarrantable and wanton oppression, and protested that no governor should ever be permitted to grow rich on their ruins; enjoining them, at the same time, to return to the obedience of their magistrates, and subjection to legal authority.
Hitherto this little community has been a scene of continual contention and misery. The fundamental constitutions, which the proprietors thought the most excellent form of government upon earth, have been little regarded. The governors have been either ill qualified for their office, or the instructions given them have been unacceptable to the people. The inhabitants, far from living in friendship and harmony among themselves, have also been seditious and ungovernable. Indeed, while the proprietary government shall continue to be thus weak and unstable, its authority will be little respected; while the encouragement given to civil officers and magistrates is trifling and inconsiderable; men of judgment and ability will not throw away their time and pains for supporting the honour and authority of others, which might be otherwise employed to purposes more advantageous to themselves. The titles of Landgraves and Cassiques will not compensate for the loss of such time and labour, especially when they come only joined with large tracts of land which, for want of hands, must lie uncultivated. The money arising from quitrents and the sale of lands was inconsiderable, hard to be collected, and by no means adequate to the support of government. The proprietors were unwilling to involve their English estates for the improvement of American property; hence their government was feeble and ill supported in Carolina, and there is reason to fear it will become more so, in proportion as the colonists shall become richer and more independent, and the country shall advance to a more populous and better cultivated state.
[Sidenote] A revolution in England.
During the reign of the infatuated King James II. the English nation, oppressed by a Popish faction, and apprehensive about their civil and religious liberties, were ripe for a revolt; and, upon his abdication, William Prince of Orange accepted of the English crown, on such terms as the Parliament thought proper to offer it. Though history can furnish few examples of a daughter conspiring with subjects to exclude her father from the throne, and then accepting of a crown from his head; yet, by this Revolution the long-contested boundaries between the prerogative of the king and the rights and liberties of the people, were more clearly marked and determined than they had been in any former period, to the great relief and happiness of the nation. This event is distinguished in the annals of England as the era of freedom; and it must be confessed, that the change has been productive of many important and happy consequences.
As nothing tends more to the increase of industry and commerce than religious toleration, and great freedom to scrupulous consciences, soon after the Revolution an act passed in parliament, for exempting his majesty's Protestant subjects from the penalties of certain laws, under which they had formerly suffered great severities. King William and his council, at that juncture, wisely judged, that such a law might be of excellent use in removing the complaints of many of his good subjects, and uniting their minds in interest and affection. Though the variances of Whigs and Tories may have sometimes obstructed the salutary effects of this law, yet it must be acknowledged to have answered many wise and valuable purposes to the nation.
[Sidenote] The French refugees meet with encouragement.
In the history of England, nothing is found to redound more to the honour of the people than their signal and uncommon acts of generosity and humanity. Even in the reign of King James large collections had been made for the distressed French refugees. After King William's accession to the throne, the parliament voted fifteen thousand pounds sterling to be distributed among persons of quality, and all such as through age or infirmities were unable to support themselves or families. To artificers and manufacturers encouragement was offered in England and Ireland, who have contributed not a little to the improvement of the silk and linen manufactures of these kingdoms. To husbandmen and merchants agreeable prospects were opened in the British colonies. In 1690, King William sent a large body of these people to Virginia. Lands were allotted them on the banks of St. James's river, which by their diligence and industry they soon improved into excellent estates. Others purchased lands from the proprietors of Carolina, transported themselves and families to that quarter, and settled a colony on Santee river. Others, who were merchants and mechanics, took up their residence in Charlestown, and followed their different occupations. At this period these new settlers were a great acquisition to Carolina. They had taken the oath of allegiance to the king, and promised fidelity to the proprietors. They were disposed to look on the colonists, whom they had joined, in the favourable light of brethren and fellow-adventurers, and though they understood not the English language, yet they were desirous of living in peace and harmony with their neighbours, and willing to stand forth on all occasions of danger with them for the common safety and defence.
[Sidenote] Philip Ludwell appointed governor.
About the same time Philip Ludwell, a gentleman from Virginia, being appointed governor of Carolina, arrived in the province. Sir Nathaniel Johnson, who had been general of the Leeward Islands in the reign of King James, being created a Cassique of Carolina, after the Revolution retired to that country, and took his seat as a member of the council. The proprietors having found the fundamental constitutions disagreeable to the people, and ineffectual for the purposes of government, repealed all their former laws and regulations, excepting those called Agrarian Laws, and sent out a new plan of government to Mr. Ludwell, consisting of forty-three articles of instruction, for the better management of their colony. The inhabitants, who had been long in a confused and turbulent stare, were enjoined to obedience and submission. Liberty was granted to the representatives of the people to frame such laws as they judged necessary to the public welfare and tranquillity, which were to continue in force for two years, but no longer, unless they were in the mean time ratified and confirmed by the palatine and three more proprietors. Lands for the cassiques and landgraves were ordered to be marked out in square plats, and freedom was granted them to chuse their situation. Hitherto the planters remained utter strangers to the value and fertility of the low lands, the swamps were therefore carefully avoided, and large tracts of the higher lands, which were esteemed more precious, were surveyed, and marked out for estates by the provincial nobility.
[Sidenote] Harsh treatment of the colonists to the refugees.
Governor Ludwell, who was a man of great humanity, and considerable knowledge and experience in provincial affairs, by those large estates which were allowed the leading men, and the many indulgences he was authorized to grant to others, had the good fortune to allay the ferment among the people, and reconcile them to the proprietors. But this domestic tranquility was of short duration. New sources of discontent broke out from a different quarter. He had instructions to allow the French colony settled in Craven county, the same privileges and liberties with the English colonists. Several of the refugees being possessed of considerable property in France, had sold it, and brought the money with them to England. Having purchased large tracts of land with this money, they sat down in more advantageous circumstances than the poorer part of English emigrants. Some of them, who had gone to the northern provinces, hearing of the kind treatment and great encouragement their brethren had received in Carolina, came to southward and joined their countrymen. Having clergymen of their own persuasion, for whom they entertained the highest respect and veneration, they were disposed to encourage them as much as their narrow circumstances would admit. Governor Ludwell received the wandering foreigners with great civility, and was not a little solicitous to provide them with settlements equal to their expectations. While these refugees were entering on the hard task of clearing and cultivating spots of land, encouraging and relieving each other as much as was in their power, the English Settlers began to revive the odious distinctions and rooted antipathies of the two nations, and to consider them as aliens and foreigners, entitled by law to none of the privileges and advantages of natural-born subjects. The governor had instructions to allow them six representatives in assembly; this the Englishmen considered as contrary to the laws of the land, and beyond the power of the proprietors, who were subject to the laws, to grant. Instead of considering these persecuted strangers in the enlarged light of brethren descended from the same common parent, and entitled to the free blessings of Providence; instead of taking compassion on men who had sought an asylum from oppression in their country, whom they were bound to welcome to it by every tie of humanity and interest; they began to execute the laws of England respecting aliens in their utmost rigour against them. Their haughty spirit could not brook the thoughts of sitting in assembly with the rivals of the English nation for power and dominion, and of receiving laws from Frenchmen, the favourers of a system of slavery and absolute government. In this unfavourable light they were held forth to the people, to the great prejudice of the refugees; which sentiments, however narrow and improper, served to excite no small jealousies and apprehensions in their minds, with respect to these unhappy foreigners.
Hard as this treatment was, this violent party did not stop here. They insisted, that the laws of England allowed no foreigners to purchase lands in any part of the empire under her supreme jurisdiction, and that no authority but the house of commons in Britain could incorporate aliens into their community, and make them partakers of the rights and privileges of natural-born Englishmen; that they ought to have been naturalized by parliament before they obtained grants of lands from the proprietors; that the marriages performed by their clergymen, not being ordained by a bishop, were unlawful; and that the children begotten in those marriage could be considered in law in no other light as bastards. In short, they averred, that aliens were not only denied a seat in parliament, but also a voice in all elections of members to serve in it; and that they could neither be returned on any jury, nor sworn for the trial of issues between subject and subject.
The refugees, alarmed at these proceedings, and discouraged at the prospects of being deprived of all the rights and liberties of British subjects, began to suspect that the opposition of England would fall heavier upon them than that of France from which they had fled. Dejected at the thoughts of labouring they knew not for whom, if their children could not reap the fruits of their labours, or if their estates should escheat to the proprietors at their decease, they could consider themselves only as deceived and imposed upon by false promises and prospects. After holding several consultations among themselves about their deplorable circumstances, they agreed to state their case before the proprietors, and beg their advice. In answer to which the Proprietors instructed Governor Ludwell to inform them, that they would enquire what does in law qualify an alien born for the enjoyment of the rights and privileges of English subjects, and in due time let them know; that, for their part, they would take no advantages of the present grievous circumstances of the refugees; that their lands should descend to such persons as they thought proper to bequeath them; that the children of such as had been married in the same way were not deemed bastards in England, nor could they be considered as such in Carolina, where such unlimited toleration was allowed to all men by their charter. Though this served in some measure to compose the minds of the refugees, yet while the people harboured prejudices against them the relief was only partial; and, at the next election of members to serve in assembly, Craven county, in which they lived, was not allowed a single representative.
[Sidenote] The manner of obtaining lands.
From the first settlement of the colony, the common method of obtaining lands in it was by purchase, either from the Proprietors themselves, or from officers commissioned by them, who disposed of them agreeable to their directions. Twenty pounds sterling for a thousand acres of land, and more or less, in proportion to the quantity, was commonly demanded, although the proprietors might accept of any acknowledgment they thought proper. The emigrants having obtained warrants, had liberty to go in search of vacant ground, and to pitch upon such spots as they judged most valuable and convenient. This was surveyed, and marked out to them, according to the extent of their purchase, and plats and grants were signed, registered and delivered to them, reserving one shilling quitrent for every hundred acres, to be paid annually to the Proprietors. Such persons as could not advance the sum demanded by way of purchase, obtained lands on condition of paying one penny annual-rent for every acre to the landlords. The former, however, was the common method of obtaining landed estates in Carolina, and the tenure was a freehold. The refugees having purchased their estates, and meeting with such harsh treatment from the colonists, were greatly discouraged, and apprehensive, notwithstanding the fair promises of the Proprietors, they had escaped one abyss of misery only to plunge themselves deeper into another.
[Sidenote] Juries chosen by ballot.
The manner of impannelling juries in Carolina being remarkably fair and equitable, justly claims our particular notice. Juries here are not returned by sheriffs, whose ingenuity and integrity are well known, particularly in England; but according to an article in the fundamental constitutions. The names of all the freemen in the colony being taken down on small pieces of parchment of equal size, they are put into a ballot-box, which is shaken on purpose to mix them, and out of which twenty-four names are drawn, at every precinct court before it rises, by the first boy under ten year of age that appears; which names are put into another box, and twelve out of the twenty-four are drawn by another boy under the same age, and summoned to appear at the next meeting of court; which persons are the jury, provided no exceptions are taken against any of them. If any of them are challenged by the prisoner, the boy continues drawing other names till the jury be full. In this mild and fair manner prisoners are tried, which allows them every chance for life humanity can suggest or require: for after the most careful examination of witnesses, and the fullest debate on both sides from the bar, the jury have instructions about the evidences given, and the point of law which is to guide them in their decision, from the bench; and are shut up in a room, where they must remain until they agree, and return their unanimous verdict, guilty or not guilty.
[Sidenote] Pirates favored by the colonists.
Notwithstanding the excellence of this form of trial, it must be confessed that justice has not always had its free course, nor been administered with impartiality by the officers and judges appointed by the proprietors for this purpose. Pirates, for instance, are a body of men whom all civilized nations are bound in honour and justice to crush; yet, instead of this, by bribery and corruption they often found favour with the provincial juries, and by this means escaped the hands of justice. About this time forty men arrived in a privateer called the Royal Jamaica, who had been engaged in a course of piracy, and brought into the country treasures of Spanish gold and silver. These men were allowed to enter into recognizance for their peaceable and good behaviour for one year, with securities, till the governor should hear whether the proprietors would grant them a general indemnity. At another time a vessel was shipwrecked on the coast, the crew of which openly and boldly confessed, they had been in the Red sea plundering the dominions of the Great Mogul. The gentleness of government towards those public robbers, and the civility and friendship with which they were treated by the people, were evidences of the licentious spirit which prevailed in the colony. For although all men ought to be tender of the lives of their fellow-creatures, and permit ten guilty persons to escape rather than one innocent man should suffer; yet, to bring pirates to justice is a duty which both national honour and the common welfare of society necessarily require. For if we allow such public robbers to escape with impunity, it may be attended with serious and fatal consequences; it may prove the occasion of war and bloodshed to nations in general, to the prejudice of navigation, and the destruction of many innocent lives, which might have been prevented by proper and legal punishments. The Proprietors were disposed to consider piracy in this dangerous light, and therefore instructed Governor Ludwell to change the form of electing juries, and required that all pirates should be tried and punished by the laws of England made for the suppression of piracy. Before such instructions reached Carolina, the pirates, by their money and freedom of intercourse with the people, had so ingratiated themselves into the public favour, that it was become no easy matter to bring them to trial, and dangerous to punish them as they deserved. The courts of law became scenes of altercation, discord, and confusion. Bold and seditious speeches were made from the bar, in contempt of the Proprietors and their government. Since no pardons could be obtained but such as they had authorised the governor to grant, the assembly took the matter under deliberation, and fell into hot debates among themselves about a bill of indemnity. When they found the governor disposed to refute his assent to such a bill, they made a law impowering magistrates and judges to put in force the habeas corpus act made in England. Hence it happened, that several of those pirates escaped, purchased lands from the colonists, and took up their residence in the country. While money flowed into the colony in this channel, the authority of government was a barrier too feeble to stem the fide, and prevent such illegal practices. At length the proprietors, to gratify the people, granted an indemnity to all the pirates, excepting those who had been plundering the Great Mogul, most of whom also found means of making their escape out of the country.
In this community there subsisted a constant struggle between the people and the officers of the Proprietors: the former claimed great exemptions and indulgences, on account of their indigent and dangerous circumstances; the latter were anxious to discharge the duties of their trust, and to comply with the instructions of their superiors. When quitrents were demanded some refused payment, others had nothing to offer. When actions were brought against all those who were in arrears, the poor planters murmured and complained among themselves, and were discontented at the terms of holding their lands, though, comparatively speaking, easy and advantageous. It was impossible for any governor to please both parties. The fees also of their courts and sheriffs were such, that, in all actions of small value, they exceeded the debt to be recovered by them. To remedy this inconvenience, the assembly made a law for empowering justices of the peace to hear, and finally to determine, all causes of forty shillings sterling value and under. This was equally agreeable to the people, as it was otherwise to the officers of justice. At length, to humour the planters, the governor proposed to the assembly, to consider of a new form of a deed for holding lands, by which he encroached on the prerogative of the proprietors, who had referred to themselves the sole power of judging in such a case, incurred their displeasure, and was soon after removed from the government.
[Sidenote] Thomas Smith appointed governor.
To find another man equally well qualified for the trust, was a matter at this time of no small difficulty to the Proprietors. Thomas Smith was a man possessed of considerable property, much esteemed by the people for his wisdom and sobriety; such a person they deemed would be the most proper to succeed Ludwell, as he would naturally be both zealous and active in promoting the prosperity and peace of the settlement. Accordingly a patent was sent out to him creating him a landgrave, and, together with it, a commission investing him with the government of the colony. Mr. Ludwell returned to Virginia, happily relieved from a troublesome office, and Landgrave Smith, under all possible advantages, entered on it. He was previously acquainted with the state of the colony, and with the tempers and complexions of the leading men in it. He knew that the interest of the Proprietors, and the prosperity of the settlement were inseparably connected. He was disposed to allow the people, struggling under many hardships, every indulgence consistent with the duties of his trust. No stranger could have been appointed to the government that could boast of being in circumstances equally favourable and advantageous.
[Sidenote] The planting of rice introduced.
About this time a fortunate accident happened, which occasioned the introduction of rice into Carolina, a commodity which was afterwards found very suitable to the climate and soil of the country. A brigantine from the island of Madagascar touching at that place in her way to Britain, came to anchor off Sullivan's island. There Landgrave Smith, upon an invitation from the captain, paid him a visit, and received from him a present of a bag of seed rice, which he said he had seen growing in eastern countries, where it was deemed excellent food, and produced an incredible increase. The governor divided his bag of rice between Stephen Bull, Joseph Woodward, and some other friends, who agreed to make the experiment, and planted their small parcels in different soils. Upon trial they found it answered their highest expectations. Some years afterwards, Mr. Du Bois, treasurer to the East-India Company, sent a bag of seed rice to Carolina, which, it is supposed, gave rise to the distinction of red and white rice, which are both cultivated in that country. Several years, however, elapsed, before the planters found out the art of beating and cleaning it to perfection, and that the lowest and richest lands were best adapted to the nature of the grain; yet, from this period, the colonists persevered in planting it, and every year brought them greater encouragement. From this small beginning did the staple commodity of Carolina take its rife, which soon became the chief support of the colony, and its great source of opulence. Besides provisions for man and beast, as rice employs a number of hands in trade, it became also a source of naval strength to the nation, and of course more beneficial to it, than foreign mines of silver and gold. From the success attending this inconsiderable beginning, projectors of new schemes for improvement may draw some useful lessons, especially where lands are good, and the climate favourable to vegetation.
[Sidenote] Occasions a necessity for employing negroes.
With the introduction of rice planting into this country, and the fixing upon it as its staple commodity, the necessity of employing Africans for the purpose of cultivation was doubled. So laborious is the task of raising, beating, and cleaning this article, that though it had been possible to obtain European servants in numbers sufficient for attacking the thick forest and clearing grounds for the purpose, thousands and ten thousands must have perished in the arduous attempt. The utter inaptitude of Europeans for the labour requisite in such a climate and soil, is obvious to every one possessed of the smallest degree of knowledge respecting the country; white servants would have exhausted their strength in clearing a spot of land for digging their own graves, and every rice plantation would have served no other purpose than a burying ground to its European cultivators. The low lands of Carolina, which are unquestionably the richest grounds in the country, must long have remained a wilderness, had not Africans, whose natural constitutions were suited to the clime and work, been employed in cultivating this useful article of food and commerce.
[Sidenote] Perpetual slavery repugnant to the principles of humanity and Christianity.
So much may be said for the necessity of employing Africans in the cultivation of rice; but great is the difference between employing negroes in clearing and improving those rich plains, and that miserable state of hardship and slavery to which they are there devoted, and which has been tolerated and established by the law of the land. If we view this race, first ranging over the hills of Africa, equally free and independent as other rude nations on earth, and from thence inveigled by frauds or compelled by force, and then consigned over to a state of endless slavery, we must confess the change is great and deplorable, especially to an impartial and disinterested eye. Without them, it is acknowledged, slow must have been the progress of cultivation in Carolina; but, from such a confederation, what man will presume to vindicate the policy of keeping those rational creatures in perpetual exile and slavery. Nature had given them an equal right to liberty as to life, and the general law of self-preservation was equally concerned for the preservation of both. We would be glad then to know, upon what principle of equity and justice the English traders found their right to deprive the freeborn inhabitants of Africa of their natural liberty and native country; or on what grounds the planter afterwards founds his right to their service during life, and that of all their posterity, to the latest generation. Can the particular laws of any country supersede the general laws of nature? Can the local circumstances of any province upon earth be pled in excuse for such a violent trade, and for such endless slavery in consequence of it? Besides, has not this trade a tendency to encourage war and plunder among the natives of Africa? to set one tribe against another, to catch and trepan their neighbours, on purpose to barter them for European trinkets to the factories? Nor is the traffic confined to the captives of war alone, who have been subjected to slavery by many nations; for so ardently do they covet the pernicious liquors and trifling commodities carried to them from Europe, that, without scruple, they will part with their nearest relations, their wives and children not excepted, to procure them. Thus civilized nations, by such a traffic, have made barbarians more barbarous, and tempted them to commit the most cruel and unnatural actions.
Nothing can be more evident, than that such a trade is tolerated and carried on in violation of the grand rule of equity prescribed to Christians. For example, let us suppose the people of Africa had discovered an island, such as Newfoundland, in a climate too cool for the natives of that continent to cultivate, and that the inhabitants of the north of Europe were alone adapted to the work. In consequence of this discovery, were they to sail to Britain with a cargo of their gold dust, and stir up one county to wage war with another for the sake of captives were they to tempt the father to dispose of his son, the mother of her daughter, the husband of his wife, and the nearest friends, first to steal and kidnap, and then barter each other, for Africa's golden idol: we may with justice put the question, Ye inhabitants of England, what would ye think of such a traffic? We will readily own, there are few nations upon earth more fond of gold dust than you, or have gone farther lengths in the commercial way to procure it; yet, fond as ye are of this favourite metal, we must do so much justice to your humanity as to believe, that your nation would resound with complaints against a traffic so unjust and cruel. Yet certainly the African's natural right to pursue it is equally well grounded as that of the European. What principle of Christianity can you then plead in its vindication? Your superior power, avarice, and craft, the African acknowledges to his sad experience; but he complains of being made absolute property, such as cattle, goods and chattels, and subject to be seized, levied upon, and tossed from hand to hand for the payment of commercial debts, by the laws of your realm, to which he never owed any subjection or obedience. He complains of the means used to bring him into such grievous and deplorable circumstances, as unfair and iniquitous. He complains, that his utmost labour and industry for any limited time will not be accepted by the master he serves, as a compensation for the expence of his purchase, and that he and all his generation must remain slaves for ever, without hope of redemption or deliverance. And, without doubt, hard is his case, and well grounded are his complaints. Indeed the planter's concern only commences with the arrival of these slaves, and his contract made with the merchant, who, under the colour and authority of the laws, brought them into the country where he lives. For the purchase he makes he has also the sanction and countenance of law, which is in some measure a justification of his conduct. On provincial regulations, with respect to the subsequent management and treatment of negroes, we shall afterwards take occasion to make some remarks. At present we shall only add, that in no instance can it be said to be a more plain and lamentable truth, that the love of money is the root of all evil, than when it urges men to trade in the bodies and souls of their fellow-creatures.
[Sidenote] Foreign colonies encouraged from views of commercial advantage.
During the period of the usurpation in England, when the great councils of the nation were under the direction of men of mean birth and little education, the considerations of mercantile profit became connected with those of dominion and the higher springs of government. After the conquest of Jamaica, it was resolved, that the nation should make a commercial profit of every colony that had been, or should be, planted in the western world. At the Restoration the same turn in politics was also adopted, and the parliament which brought about that great event made a law, by which it was enacted, that no sugar, cotton, wool, indigo, ginger, fustic, or other dying wood, of the growth of any English plantation in Asia, Africa, or America, should be transported to any other place than to some English plantation, or to England, Ireland, Wales, and Berwick upon Tweed, upon pain of forfeiture of ship and goods; that, for every vessel sailing from England, Ireland, Wales, and Berwick upon Tweed, bond shall be given, with security of one or two thousand pounds sterling, money of Great Britain, that if she load any of the said commodities at such plantations, she shall bring them to some port of these English dominions. And for every vessel coming to the said plantations the governor shall, before she be permitted to load, take such bond as aforesaid, that she shall carry such commodities to England, Ireland, Wales, or Berwick upon Tweed. This laid the foundation of what was afterwards called enumerated commodities; and to these already mentioned, rice, hemp, copper ore, beaver skins, and naval stores, were afterwards added, and, with some exceptions, subjected to the same restraint.
This navigation law, though it cramped the trade of the colonies, yet it has been attended with many beneficial consequences to Britain: and while she maintained the supreme power of legislation throughout the empire, and wisely regulated the trade and commerce of her foreign settlements, she might reap many and substantial advantages from them. She might render them a market for her manufactures, and at the same time supply herself with such commodities as her northern climate refused, and obliged her to purchase from other nations. By such means she might enlarge her commerce and trade, at the same time she increased her naval strength. It was her interest in a particular manner to encourage settlements in a different climate, the productions of which luxury had made necessary to the support of her domestic dominions. Their articles of product interfered not with those of Britain, and were in no danger of rivalling her at any market. But should the planters in these colonies begin to think themselves entitled to the privileges of raising what productions they please, and of sending them to any market they judged most advantageous to themselves, they would then become colonies equally useful to all the world; and the mother country, who discovered, peopled and protected them, would share no more advantage from them than rival states around her. On this principle Great Britain grounds her right to expect a market for her manufactures in the colonies she planted and nursed, and to regulate their produce and trade in such a channel as to render them only subservient to her own interest. Without this right they would not only be useless to her, but very prejudicial. Colonies planted in the same latitude with the parent state, raising the same productions, and enjoying the same privileges, must in time be both detrimental and dangerous; for while they drain her of inhabitants, they are growing strong upon her ruins. They meet her at the same market with the same commodities, a competition arises between them, and occasions jealousies, quarrels, and animosities. Then she will become sensible of the bad policy of having promoted such colonies, when they prove dangerous rivals in trade and commerce, and when perhaps it is become too late to remedy the evil: for a rival daughter often becomes the more abusive and troublesome, in proportion as she is better acquainted than strangers with the natural fondness and indulgent temper of a tender mother.
From Carolina indeed Britain had less to fear than from the more northern colonies, as the latitude was more remote, and the climate and soil better suited to different productions. Here the people naturally engaged in pursuits different from those of the mother country, and a mutual exchange of commodities and good offices would of consequence the more necessarily take place. They might barter their skins, furs, and naval stores, for clothes, arms, ammunition, and utensils necessary for cultivation, imported from England. They might send their provisions, lumber, and Indian captives to the West Indies, and receive the luxuries of these islands, and the refuse of their cargoes of slaves, in return, without any prejudice to Britain: for as the two climates differed greatly, they were of consequence adapted to different articles of produce. To such staples the first views of the planters ought to have been chiefly directed, and, for their encouragement in raising them, premiums from the Proprietors might have been attended with the most beneficial effects.
[Sidenote] A.D. 1693. Indians complain of injustice.
Before this time the Carolineans had found out the policy of setting one tribe of Indians against another, on purpose to save themselves. By trifling presents they purchased the friendship of some tribes, whom they employed to carry on war with others, which not only diverted their attention from them, but encouraged them to bring captives to Charlestown, for the purpose of transportation to the West Indies, and the advantage of trade. In the year 1693, twenty Cherokee chiefs waited on Governor Smith, with presents and proposals of friendship, craving the protection of government against the Esaw and Congaree Indians, who had destroyed several of their towns, and taken a number of their people prisoners. They complained also of the outrages of the Savanna Indians for selling their countrymen, contrary to former regulations established among the different tribes; and begged the governor to restore their relations, and protect them against such insidious enemies. Governor Smith declared to them, that there was nothing he wished for more than friendship and peace with the Cherokee warriors, and would do every thing in his power for their defence: that the prisoners were already gone, and could not be recalled; but that he would for the future take care that a stop should be put to the custom of sending them off the country. At the same time the Chihaw king complained of the cruel treatment he had received from John Palmer who had barbarously beat and cut him with his broad-sword. In answer to which charge Palmer was insolent and contumacious, and protested, in defiance and contempt of both governor and council, he would again treat him in like manner upon the same provocation; for which he was ordered into custody, until he asked pardon of the house, and found security for his future peaceable behaviour to Indians. Such instances of harsh treatment serve to account for many outrages of Indian nations, who were neither insensible to the common feelings of human nature, nor ignorant of the grievous frauds and impositions they suffered in the course of traffic. By some planters indeed they were used with greater humanity, and employed as servants to cultivate their lands, or hunt for fresh provisions to their families; and as the woods abounded with deer, rabbits, turkeys, geese, ducks, snipes, etc. which were all accounted game, an expert hunter was of great service in a plantation, and could furnish a family with more provisions than they could consume.
[Sidenote] The troubles among the settlers continue.
With respect to government Carolina still remained in a confused and turbulent state. Complaint from every quarter was made to the governor, who was neither able to quiet the minds of the people, nor afford them the relief they wanted. The French refugees were uneasy that there was no provincial law to secure their estates to the heirs of their body, or the next in kin, and afraid that their lands at their death would escheat to the Proprietors, and their children become beggars, notwithstanding their utmost industry and application; and, in such a case, the sooner they removed from the colony the better it would be for themselves and their posterity. The English colonists, not only kept up variances among themselves, bur also perplexed the governor with their complaints of hardships and grievances. At last Landgrave Smith wrote the Proprietors, and frankly told them, that he despaired of ever uniting the people in interest and affection; that he and many more, weary of the fluctuating state of public affairs, had resolved to leave the province; and that he was convinced nothing would bring the settlers to a state of tranquillity and harmony, unless they sent out one of the Proprietors, with full powers to redress grievances, and settle differences prevailing and likely to prevail more in their colony.
[Sidenote] John Archdale appointed governor.
The Proprietors, astonished at the discontented and turbulent spirit of the people, yet anxious to prevent the settlement from being deserted and ruined, resolved to try the remedy Landgrave Smith had suggested; and accordingly pitched on Lord Ashley, an ingenious and bright young nobleman, to go to Carolina, and invested him with full powers, after viewing the posture of affairs on the spot, to establish such regulations as he judged most conducive to the peace and welfare of the colony. Lord Ashley, however, having either little inclination to the voyage, or being detained in England by business of greater consequence, John Archdale agreed to embark in his place. Archdale was a man of considerable knowledge and discretion, a Quaker, and a Proprietor; great trust was reposed in him, and much was expected from his negociations.
In the mean time Landgrave Smith having resigned his charge, Daniel Blake was chosen governor, until the pleasure of the Proprietors was known. So great was the antipathy of the English settlers to the French refugees now grown, that they insisted on their total exclusion from a voice in the legislature. For this purpose an address was prepared and signed by a great number of them, and presented to Governor Blake, praying, that the refugees might not only be denied the privilege of sitting as members of the legislative body, but also of a vote at their election, and that the assembly might be composed only of English members, chosen by Englishmen. Their request, however, being contrary to the instructions of the Proprietors, Blake, it is probable, judged beyond his power to grant, and therefore matters relating to them continued in the same unsettled state, until the arrival of Governor Archdale, which happened about the middle of the year 1695.
[Sidenote] Archdales's arrival, and new regulations.
The arrival of this pious man occasioned no small joy among all the settlers, who crowded about him, each expecting some favour or indulgence. Amidst the general joy, private animosities and civil discord seemed for a while to be buried in oblivion. The governor soon found, that three interesting matters demanded his particular attention. The first was, to restore harmony and peace among the colonists themselves; the second, to reconcile them to the jurisdiction and authority of the Proprietors; and the third, to regulate their policy and traffic with the Indian tribes. For these purposes he summoned his council for advice, and the commissions to the different deputies were read. The members appointed were Joseph Blake, Stephen Bull, James Moore, Paul Grimball, Thomas Carey, John Beresford, and William Hawett. All former judges of the courts, officers of the militia, and justices of the peace, were continued in their respective offices. But such was the national antipathy of the English settlers to the poor French refugees, that Archdale found their total exclusion from all concern in legislature was absolutely necessary to the peaceable convocation of the delegates, and therefore issued writs directing them only to Berkley and Colleton counties. Ten members for the one, and ten for the other, all Englishmen, were accordingly chosen by the freemen of the same nation. At their meeting the governor made a seasonable speech to both houses, acquainting them with the design of his appointment, his regard for the colony, and great desire of contributing towards its peace and prosperity. They, in return, presented affectionate addresses to him, and entered on public business with great temper and unanimity. Matters of general moment and concern Governor Archdale, by his extensive powers and great discretion settled to the satisfaction of all, excepting the French refugees. The price of lands and the form of conveyances were fixed by law. Three years rent was remitted to those who held land by grant, and four years to such as held them by survey, without grant. Such lands as had escheated to the Proprietors, were ordered to be let out or sold for their Lordships benefit. It was agreed to take the arrears of quitrents either in money or commodities, as should be most easy and convenient for the planters. Magistrates were appointed, for hearing all causes between the settlers and Indians, and finally determining all differences between them. Public roads were ordered to be made, and water passages cut, for the more easy conveyance of produce to the market. Some former laws were altered, and such new statutes made as were judged requisite for the good government and peace of the colony. In short, public affairs began to put on an agreeable aspect, and to promise fair towards the future progress and welfare of the settlement. But as for the French refugees, all the governor could do for them was, to recommend it to the English freeholders to consider them in the most friendly and compassionate point of light, and to treat them with lenity and moderation.
[Sidenote] Treats Indians with humanity.
No man could entertain more benevolent sentiments, with respect to the ignorant heathen savages, than Governor Archdale; his compassion for them was probably one of the weighty motives which induced him to undertake the voyage to this country. To protect them against insults, and establish a fair trade and friendly intercourse with them, were regulations which both humanity required and sound policy dictated. But such was the rapacious spirit of individuals, that it could be curbed by no authority. Many advantages were taken of the ignorance of Indians in the way of traffic. The liberty of seizing their persons, and selling them for slaves to the West-India planters, the colonists could not be prevailed on entirely to resign, without much reluctance. At this time a war raged between two Indian nations, the one living in the British, the other in the Spanish territories. The Yamassees, a powerful tribe in Carolina, having made an incursion into Florida, took a number of Indians prisoners, whom they brought to Charlestown for sale to the provincial traders to Jamaica and Barbadoes. Governor Archdale no sooner heard of their arrival, than he ordered the Spanish Indians to be brought to him, and finding that they had been instructed in the rites and principles of the Catholic religion, he could not help considering it as an atrocious crime to sell Christians of any denomination. To maintain a good understanding between the two provinces, he sent the prisoners to Augustine, and along with them the Yamassee warriors, to treat of peace with the Indians of Florida. The Spanish governor wrote a letter to Mr. Archdale, thanking him for his humanity, and expressing a desire to live on terms of friendship and peace with the Carolineans. In consequence of which, Governor Archdale issued orders to all Indians in the British interest, to forbear molesting those under the jurisdiction of Spain. The two kings being at that time confederates, the like orders were issued at St. Augustine, and in a short time they were attended with beneficial effects. Such wise steps served not only to prevent slaughter and misery among these savages themselves, but an English vessel being accidentally shipwrecked on the coast of Florida, the Indians did the crew no harm, but, on the contrary, conducted them safe to Augustine, where the commandant furnished them with provisions, and sent them to the English settlements.
Nor did Governor Archdale confine his views to the establishment of a good correspondence with the Indian nations on the south of this settlement, but extended them also to those on the north side of it. Stephen Bull, a member of the council and an Indian trader, at his request entered into a treaty of friendship with the Indians living on the coast of North Carolina. This proved also favourable for some adventurers from New England, who were soon after the conclusion of the treaty shipwrecked on that coast. These emigrants got all safe to land, but finding themselves surrounded by barbarians, expected nothing but instant death. However, to defend themselves in the best manner they could, they encamped in a body on the shore, and threw up an entrenchment around them. There they remained until their small stock of provisions was almost exhausted. The Indians, by making signs of friendship, frequently invited them to quit their camp; but they were afraid to trust them, until hunger urged them to run the hazard at all events. After they came out, the Indians received them with great civility, and not only furnished them with provisions, but also permitted some of them peaceably to travel over land to Charlestown, to acquaint the governor with their misfortune. Upon which a vessel was sent to North Carolina, which brought them to Cooper river, on the north side of which lands were allotted them for their accommodation and they formed that settlement afterwards known by the name of Christ's-church parish.
About the same time, two Indians of different tribes being intoxicated with liquor, a vice which they learned from the English settlers, quarrelled at Charlestown, and the one murdered the other. Among these barbarians, not to avenge the death of a friend is considered as pusillanimous, and whenever death ensues, drunkenness, accident, or even self-defence, are in their eyes no extenuation of the crime. The relations of the deceased, hearing of his death, immediately came to Charlestown, and demanded satisfaction. Governor Archdale, who had confined the murderer, being desirous to save his life, offered them a compensation; but they refused it, and insisted on blood for blood and death for death, according to the law of retaliation. To prevent the quarrel spreading wider among them, he was obliged to deliver the prisoner up to punishment and death. While they were conducting him to the place of execution, his king, coming up to him, enjoined him, since he must die, to stand and die like a man; adding, at the same time, that he had often warned him of the danger of rum, and now he must lose his life for neglecting his counsel. When he had advanced to the stake to which he was to be fastened, he desired that they would not bind him, promising not to stir a foot from the spot; and accordingly he did not, but with astounding resolution braved the terrors of death, and fell a sacrifice to justice, the frequent wages of blind drunkenness and mad excess.
[Sidenote] The Proprietors shamefully neglected agriculture.
It may now be thought a matter of surprise by some men, especially by such as know the advantages of agriculture, that the Proprietors of Carolina, who were men of knowledge, and zealous for the interest and improvement of the colony, paid so little regard to the only thing upon which the subsistence of the inhabitants and the success of the settlement depended. Instead of framing codes of laws, and modelling the government of the country on principles of speculation, in which men are always in danger of error, especially when living in a different climate, far remote from the country they mean to govern; had they established a plantation in it for the particular purpose of making experiments, to find out what productions were most suitable to the soil and climate; this would have been of more real use than all the visionary laws they ever framed. The first planters were men of little knowledge or substance, many of them utter strangers to the arts of agriculture; and those who had been accustomed to husbandry in Europe, followed the same rules, and planted the same grain in Carolina, as they had formerly done in England; which were by no means adapted to the climate. They moved on in the old line, exhausted their strength in fruitless efforts, without presuming to imagine, that different articles of produce, and a deviation from the eastern modes of cultivation, could be beneficial. Hence the planters, though they had lands on the easiest terms, remained poor; and the fault was occasioned more by their ignorance and inexperience than by the climate or soil. It was the business of the Proprietors to have directed their views to such productions as were best suited to the nature of their lands, and most likely to reward their toil; and not to have left a matter of such importance to chance, or the ingenuity of poor labourers. Agriculture was certainly an object of the highest consequence to the settlers, and of course also to the Proprietors of the country.
[Sidenote] Archdale returns to England, and leaves Joseph Blake governor.
Governor Archdale having finished his negociations in Carolina, made preparations for returning to Britain. During his time though the government had acquired considerable respect and stability, yet the differences among the people still remained. Former flames were rather smothered for a while than extinguished, and were ready on the first occasion to break out again and burn with greater violence. Before he embarked, the council presented to him an address, to be transmitted to the Proprietors, expressing the deep sense they had of their Lordships paternal care for their colony, in the appointment of a man of such abilities and integrity to the government who had been so happily instrumental in establishing its peace and security. They told them, they had now no contending factions in government, or clashing interests among the people, excepting what respected the French refugees, who were unhappy at their not being allowed all the privileges and liberties of English subjects, particularly those of sitting in assembly, and voting at the election of its members, which could not be granted them without losing the affections of the English settlers, and involving the colony in civil broils; that Governor Archdale, by the advice of his council, had chose rather to refuse them those privileges than disoblige the bulk of the British settlers; that, by his wise conduct, they hoped all misunderstandings between their Lordships and the colonists were now happily removed; that they would for the future cheerfully concur with them in every measure for the speedy population and improvement of the country; that they were now levying money for building fortifications, to defend the province against foreign attacks, and that they would strive to maintain harmony and peace among themselves. Governor Archdale received this address with peculiar satisfaction, and promised to present it to the Proprietors on his arrival in England. Being impowered to nominate a lieutenant-governor, he made choice of Joseph Blake for his successor, and embarked for Britain about the close of the year 1696.
After Mr. Archdale's arrival in England, he laid this address, together with a state of the country, and the regulations he had established in it, before the Proprietors, and showed them the necessity of abolishing many articles in the constitutions, and framing a new plan of government. Accordingly, they began to compile new constitutions; from his information and intelligence forty-one different articles were drawn up and sent out by Robert Daniel, for the better government of the colony. But when the governor laid these new laws before the assembly for their assent and approbation, recommending the careful perusal and consideration of them, they treated them as they had done the former constitutions, and, instead of taking them under deliberation, modestly laid them aside.
[Sidenote] A colony of French in Florida.
Mean while France, having thought proper to recognize King William in the quality of king of Great Britain and Ireland, a treaty of peace was concluded between the two nations. After which, a project was formed by Lewis XIV. for establishing a colony of his people at the mouth of the great river Mississipi. To that immense territory lying to the eastward of that river, and extending along the back of the Appalachian mountains, from the Mexican seas to his dominions in Canada, he laid claim, which, in honour of him, was afterwards called Louisiana. Some discerning men in England early warned the nation of danger to the British settlements from a French colony established on this quarter; yet many years elapsed before they began to feel the inconveniences and troubles arising from it. It was foreseen, that, besides the Spaniards, another competitor for power and dominion would spring up, in a situation where they had a fair opportunity of engrossing the trade and affections of Indian tribes, and harassing the weakest frontiers of the British colonies: and doubtless, from the influence and address of the Frenchmen among Indians, the English settlers had more to fear, than from the religious zeal and bigotry of indolent Spanish friars.
John Earl of Bath having succeeded Lord Craven as Palatine, several persons of character and influence in Carolina were by him created landgraves; among whom were Edmund Ballenger, John Bayley, and Robert Daniel; Edmund Bohun was appointed Chief Justice of the colony. About the same time Nicholas Trott, a learned and ambitious man, left the Bahama islands, and took up his residence in Carolina. Numbers from different quarters continued to resort to this country, and, notwithstanding its warm and unhealthy climate, the flattering prospects of landed estates induced men to run every risque; and the Proprietors neglected no means which they judged conducive towards its speedy population.
[Sidenote] The French refugees incorporated by law.
With respect to the French refugees, the national antipathies among the colonists now began to abate, who, from their quiet and inoffensive behaviour, entertained daily more favourable sentiments of them. Along with their neighbours they had defied the dangers of the desert, and given ample proofs of their fidelity to the Proprietors, their love to the people, and their zeal for the success of the colony. They had cleared little spots of land for raising the necessaries of life, and in some measure surmounted the difficulties of the first state of colonization. Yet none of them could boast of great success, excepting one man who had taught the Indians dancing and music, for which arts they discovered an amazing fondness, and liberally rewarded him for his instructions. At this favourable juncture the refugees, by the advice of the governor and other friends, petitioned the legislature to be incorporated with the freemen of the colony, and allowed the same privileges and liberties with those born of English parents. Accordingly an act passed for making all aliens free, for enabling them to hold lands, and to claim the same as heirs to their ancestors, who should take the oath of allegiance to King William. With this condition the refugees joyfully complied, and the Proprietors, without scruple, ratified the law; in consequence of which, the French and English settlers, united in interest and affection, have ever since lived together in harmony and peace.
Though every person enjoyed liberty of conscience with respect to religion, yet as the Proprietors were Episcopalians, the tendency of their government leaned towards that mode of religious worship. Governor Blake, though a dissenter himself, possessed the most liberal sentiments towards men of a different persuasion. During his time a bill was brought into the assembly, for allowing the Episcopal minister of Charlestown, and his successors for ever, a salary of one hundred and fifty pounds sterling, together with a house, glebe, and two servants. Samuel Marshal, a pious and learned man, being the Episcopal minister at that time, whose prudence and ability had gained him great esteem from Christians of all denominations, the bill passed with the less opposition. Dissenters in general, a large body of the people, conscious of the amiable character and great merit of the man, acquiesced in the measure; and as no motion had been made respecting any established church, they seemed apprehensive of no ill consequences from it. However, soon after this, when the design of the Proprietors became more plain, this party, jealous above all things of their religious liberties, took the alarm, and opposed the establishment of the church of England in the colony with such violence, as occasioned no small ferment for many years in the settlement.
[Sidenote] Depredations of pirates.
About this time the coast of Carolina was infested with pirates, who hovered about the mouth of Ashley river, and obstructed the freedom of trade. In the last year of the seventeenth century, the planters had raised more rice than they could find vessels to export. Forty-five persons from different nations, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Portuguese, and Indians, had manned a ship at the Havanna, and entered on a cruise of piracy. While they were on the coast of Carolina, the people felt severely the pernicious effects of that lawless trade, which in former times they were too apt to encourage. Several ships belonging to Charlestown were taken by those public robbers, who sent the crews ashore, but kept the vessels as their prizes. At last having quarrelled among themselves about the division of the spoil, as frequently happens among such free-booters, the Englishmen proving the weaker party, were turned adrift in a long-boat. They landed at Sewee bay, and from thence travelled over land to Charlestown, giving out that they had been shipwrecked, and fortunately escaped to shore in their boat. But, to their sad disappointment and surprise, no less than three masters of ships happened to be at Charlestown at the time, who had been taken by them, and knew them; upon whose testimony the pirates were instantly taken up, tried and condemned, and seven out of nine suffered death.
[Sidenote] A hurricane,
During the autumn of the same year, a dreadful hurricane happened at Charlestown, which did great damage, and threatened the total destruction of the town. The lands on which it is built being low and level, and not many feet above high-water mark, the swelling sea rushed in with amazing impetuosity, and obliged the inhabitants to fly for shelter to the second stories of their houses. Happily few lives were lost in town; but a large vessel, called the Rising Sun, belonging to Glasgow, and commanded by James Gibson, which had come from Darien with part of the unfortunate Scotch settlers, at the time of the storm rode at anchor off the bar. This ship the hurricane drove from her anchor, and dashed to pieces against the sand-banks, and every person on board perished. Archibald Stobo, a Presbyterian clergyman, Lieutenant Graham, and several more belonging to the ship, being accidentally on shore during the tempest, escaped the disaster. These men going next day in search of their unfortunate countrymen, found the corpses of the greatest part of them driven ashore on James's island, where they spent a whole day in burying them, the last act of humanity they could then perform to their beloved companions.
[Sidenote] and other public calamities, visit the province.
Nor was this the only disaster which distinguished this year in the annals of Carolina. A fire broke also out in Charlestown, and laid the most of it in ashes. The small-pox raged through the town, and proved fatal to multitudes of the rising generation. To complete their distress, an infectious distemper broke out, and carried off an incredible number of people, among whom were Chief Justice Bohun, Samuel Marshal the Episcopal clergyman, John Ely the receiver-general, Edward Rawlins the provost-martial, and almost one half of the members of assembly. Never had the colony been visited with such general distress and mortality. Few families escaped a share of the public calamities. Almost all were lamenting the loss, either of their habitations by the devouring flames, or of friends or relations by the infectious and loathsome maladies. Discouragement and despair sat on every countenance. Many of the survivors could think of nothing but abandoning a country on which the judgments of heaven seemed to fall so heavy, and in which there was so little prospect of success, health, or happiness. They had heard of Pennsylvania, and how pleasant and flourishing a province it was described to be, and therefore were determined to embrace the first opportunity that offered of retiring to it with the remainder of their families and effects.
Governor Blake, deeply sensible of the public distress, tried every art for alleviating the misery of the people, and encouraging them to perseverance; but the members of assembly who survived, became so negligent about public affairs, that he found himself under a necessity of dissolving the house, and calling another, hoping that they might be more zealous and active in concerting measures for the public relief. Of this new assembly Nicholas Trott, whose talents had raised him above the level of his fellow-representatives, was made speaker, and who warmly espoused the cause of the people, in opposition to the interest of the proprietors. The governor and council claimed the privilege of nominating public officers, particularly a receiver-general, until the pleasure of the proprietors was known. The assembly, on the other hand, insisted that it belonged to them. This occasioned several messages between the two houses, and much altercation. However, the upper house appointed their man. The lower house resolved, that the person appointed by them was no public receiver, and that whoever should presume to pay money to him as such, should be deemed an infringer of the privileges of assembly, and an enemy to the country. Trott flatly denied they could be called an upper house, though they thus styled themselves, as they differed in the most essential circumstances from the house of lords in England; and therefore led the assembly to call them the Proprietors deputies, and to treat them with indignity and contempt, by limiting them to a day to pass their bills, and to an hour to answer their messages. At this time Trott was eager in the pursuit of popularity, and by his uncommon abilities and address succeeded in a wonderful manner. Never had any man there, in so short a time, so thoroughly engrossed the public favour and esteem, or carried matters with so high a hand, in opposition to the proprietary counsellors.
[Sidenote] James Moore chosen governor.
About the close of the year 1700, Governor Blake died, and a dispute arose in the upper house about the succession to the government. Joseph Morton, as eldest landgrave, claimed the preference, until the pleasure of the Palatine was known. But James Moore, a needy, forward and ambitious man, stood forth in competition, and, by activity and art, gained a number over in support of his pretensions. He objected to Landgrave Morton, because he had accepted a commission from King William to be judge of the court of vice-admiralty, while, at the same time, he held one of the Proprietors to the same office: this Moore and his friends declared to be a breach of the trust reposed in him; and that he might with equal propriety have accepted of a commission from King William to be governor; while he held that office of the Proprietors. Landgrave Morton replied, that there was a necessity for holding a commission from the king to be judge of the court of vice-admiralty, because it did not appear from the charter that the Proprietors could impower their judge to try persons for acts committed without the bounds of their colony, and that with such jurisdiction the judge of the admiralty ought for many reasons always to be vested. However, the upper house deemed the objection of force sufficient to set Morton aside, and James Moore was chosen successor to Governor Blake. From which period the colony may date the beginning of further jealousies and troubles, which continued for several years, and obstructed its progress in improvement. Various intrigues crept into the seat of government, and several encroachments were made on the liberties and privileges of the people, both civil and religious.
[Sidenote] Lord Granville Palatine.
King William, though he maintained the power of the established church, yet he often discovered a secret attachment to Presbyterians, and on all occasions treated them with lenity and moderation. Hence many of the more zealous friends to the church of England, alarmed at the prospects of its dangerous situation, became eagerly bent not only in support of its constitution, but even of its minutest forms, usages, and vestments. Lord Granville among the rest, after he was called up to the house of peers, had there distinguished himself as an inflexible bigot for the High-church, having been early taught to entertain the most supercillous contempt for Dissenters of all denominations. Being now also Palatine of Carolina, he soon discovered that the establishment of Episcopacy, and the suppression of all other modes of religious worship, in that country, was the chief object of his zeal and attention. James Moore being considered as a man more fit than Landgrave Morton for assisting him in the accomplishment of his favourite design, the more easily obtained a confirmation of his election to the government.
[Sidenote] King William's charter to the society for propagating the gospel.
Here it may not be improper to observe, that several eminent men had appeared in England, who, pitying the miserable state of the western world with respect to religion, had proposed some public-spirited design for the propagation of the gospel among the heathens on that vast continent. Robert Boyle, no less distinguished for his eminent piety than universal learning, had been appointed by Charles II. governor of a corporation established for the propagation of the Christian religion among Indians, the natives of New England and parts adjacent, in America. Queen Mary afterwards discovered a great desire for enlarging their plan, and for this purpose gave a bounty of two hundred pounds sterling annually to support missionaries in that quarter. Dr. Compton, bishop of London, was at pains to procure a state of religion among the English colonies, from a persuasion of the necessity and propriety of beginning this charitable work among them; and Dr. Thomas Bray, his commissary in Maryland, furnished him with one suited to excite sympathy and compassion in every pious and generous breast. At length Dr. Tennison, archbishop of Canterbury, undertook the laudable design, applied to the crown, and obtained a charter incorporating a society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts. The nation in general entered into the design with their usual ardour for all benevolent and charitable institutions. From different parts large benefactions were received by this society, and it was soon enabled to support a number of missionaries in the plantations. Religious books were purchased and sent out to different provinces, and Carolina among the rest received a number of them. A law passed for instituting a public library in the province, to remain under the care and custody of the Episcopal minister of Charlestown. Edward Marston at this time took the charge of it, and was disposed to contribute every thing in his power towards rendering it generally useful. But the Dissenters, from the choice of the books, most of which were wrote by Episcopal divines, and in defence of the doctrine, discipline and worship of the church of England, soon perceived the intention of the society, and a library framed on such a narrow foundation was treated with neglect, and proved utterly ineffectual for promoting the desired end, I mean, the religious instruction of the people.
About this time the number of inhabitants in the colony amounted to between five and six thousand, besides Indians and negroes. In Charlestown they had one minister of the church of England, and another of the church of Scotland; but in the country there was no such thing as public worship, nor schools for the education of children; and people living thus scattered through a forest, were likely in time to sink by degrees into the same state of ignorance and barbarism with the natural inhabitants of the wilderness. To supply these destitute colonists with proper means of instruction, called for the first attention of the society; for as Indians and negroes would naturally take their first religious impressions from their neighbours, to begin at this place was like paving the way for extending wider the benefits of instruction. In what manner the colony was supplied with ministers from this society, and how far the interest of religion in that country was promoted by it, we shall afterwards have occasion more particularly to narrate.
[Sidenote] An established church projected by the Palatine.
To prepare the province for the charitable assistance of this society, it was judged necessary to have the church of England established in it by a provincial law, and the country divided into different parishes, The Palatine imagined that these internal troubles and differences, by which the colony had hitherto been agitated, and the government rendered feeble and fluctuating, were occasioned by the clashing sentiments of the people with respect to religion. To remedy this evil, he perceived that some bond of union was necessary, to carry on public measures with ease and success; and religion had been deemed the firmest cement of every state. He knew that the Episcopal form of church government was more favourable to monarchy and the civil constitution than the Presbyterian, as in it a chain of dependence subsists, from the highest to the lowest in the church. While therefore he instructed Governor Moore to study all possible means of persuading the assembly to acquiesce in that form contained in the fundamental constitutions, he was equally zealous for an established church, that the wheels of their government might be no more clogged by religious dissentions.
[Sidenote] But disliked by the majority of the people.
But as a great majority of the colonists were Dissenters, who fled from England on account of rigorous acts of uniformity, their minds were ill disposed to admit of any establishment. Their former prejudices they had not yet thrown aside; their hardships in England they had not yet forgot. Their private opinions respecting religion were various as their different complexions, and unlimited toleration was granted to all by the charter. They could hear of no proposals about an established church, and the Palatine at such an unreasonable time, shewed more zeal than prudence or good policy in attempting to introduce it among them. The governor found them inflexible and obstinate in opposing such a measure; and the people even began to repent of having passed a law for fixing a salary for ever on the rector of the Episcopal church, and considered it as a step preparatory to further encroachments.
[Sidenote] Governor Moore resolves to get riches.
The great object with Governor Moore was to improve his time, not knowing how long his precarious power might last, for bettering his low and indigent circumstances. It appeared to him, that the traffic in Indians was the shortest way to riches. He therefore granted commissions to several persons, to assault, trepan and captivate as many Indians as they could, and resolved to turn the profits of such trade to his own private emolument. Not contented with this cruel method of acquiring wealth, he formed a design for engrossing the whole advantages arising to the colony from their commerce with Indian nations. For this purpose a bill was brought into the assembly for regulating the Indian trade, and drawn up in such a manner as would cause all the profits of it to center in his hands. But Nicholas Trott, Robert Stephen, and others, proved to the assembly the pernicious tendency of such a bill, and therefore it was thrown out. At which Governor Moore being highly offended, dissolved the house, in hopes of procuring another more favourable to his private views and interests.
[Sidenote] Encourages irregularities at elections.
At the election of the next assembly the governor and his friends exerted all their power and influence to bring in men of their own complexion, I mean such as would be most compliant with Moor's instructions from England, and most ready to assist him in advancing his interest. Nicholas Trott, who had hitherto shone like a star of the first magnitude on the opposite side, being now appointed Attorney-general, threw all his influence and weight into the scale of government, turned his back on his former friends, and strongly supported that tottering fabric which he had formerly endeavoured to pull down. Charlestown, where all freeholders met to give their suffrages, at the time of this election was a scene of riot, intemperance, and confusion. The sheriff, having instructions so to do, admitted every person to vote; the members of Colleton county say, even common sailors, servants, foreigners, and mallattoes. Such freeholders as stood forth in opposition to the governor's party, were abused and insulted. At length, when the poll was closed, one half of the persons elected were found to be men of neither sense nor credit; but being the chosen creatures of the governor, it was his business to prevent all inquiry into the conduct of the sheriff, and the qualifications of such members.
Ar this time Carteret county was inhabited only by Indians; but in Colleton county there were no less than two hundred freeholders, who had a right to vote for delegates to assembly. The principal plantations in it were those of the late Sir John Yeamans, Landgraves Morton, Ballenger and Axtell, and those of Blake, Boone, Gibbes, Schinking, and others. The people of this county being highly offended at the manner of election, particularly the arts and intrigues practised, and the riot and intemperance permitted at it, drew up a representation of the whole transaction, and transmitted it to the Proprietors in England: but the Palatine was too deeply concerned in promoting those measures of which they complained, to grant them any favourable answer. In Berkley county the principal settlements were those of Sir Nathanial Johnson, Governor Moore, Landgraves West, Smith, Bayley, and Daniel; together with those belonging to Godfrey, Mathews, Izard, Colleton, Grimball, &c.; several of whom were also dissatisfied with the public proceedings. But Craven county being composed of French refugees, who having little knowledge of the English language, were easily managed; many of whom supported the governor purely out of affection to the Proprietors. In short, the house consisted of thirty members, one half of whom were elected from the dregs of the people, utter strangers to public affairs, and in every respect unqualified for fitting as provincial legislators.
[Sidenote] Proposes an expedition against Augustine.
In the mean time, a rupture rook place in Europe between England and Spain, which turned the attention of the colony to a different object, and afforded Governor Moore an opportunity of exercising his military talents, and a new prospect of enriching himself by Spanish plunder or Indian captives. Accordingly, instead of private disputes among themselves, he proposed to the assembly an expedition against the Spanish settlement at Augustine. Many of the people, from mercenary motives, applauded the proposal; however, men of cool reflection, having yet had no intelligence of the declaration of war were averse from rushing into any hazardous enterprize, until they had certain advice of it from England. As the expedition was projected, contrary to the opinion and inclination of many Carolineans, without any recent provocation from the Spanish garrison; it is probable that the governor engaged in it chiefly from views of private emolument. Florida, he assured the people would be an easy conquest; and treasures of gold and silver were held out to them as the rewards of valour. In vain did some members of the assembly oppose it, by representing the province as weak, and ill provided for warlike enterprises, and by hinting at the many hazards and difficulties always attending them; in vain did they urge the strength of the Spanish fort, and the expenses incurred by a fruitless and perhaps bloody expedition: such men were called enemies and traitors to their country, and represented as timid and pusillanimous wretches, who were utter strangers to great and glorious undertakings. Accordingly, a great majority of the assembly declared for the expedition, and a sum of two thousand pounds sterling was voted for the service of the war. Six hundred Indians were engaged, who, being fond of warlike exploits, gladly accepted of arms and ammunition offered them for their aid and assistance. Six hundred provincial militia were raised, and schooners and merchant ships were impressed, for transports to carry the forces. Port-Royal was fixed upon as the place of general rendezvous, and there, in September 1702, the governor at the head of his warriors, embarked in an expedition equally rash and fool-hardy on one side, as it was well known and unprovoked on the other.