An Historical Account Of The Rise And Progress Of The Colonies Of South Carolina And Georgia, Volume 2
by Alexander Hewatt
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"Ye Chickesaw warriors, I speak first to you, and I know your ears are open to my words. The great King regards you as children brought up in their father's house, who from their infancy have been dutiful and obedient, and by that means merited what you have always enjoyed, his particular care and affection. While darkness surrounded you on every side, he has defended you from all those snares and dangers to which you were exposed. Now the day is clear and unclouded. Your father continues to love you. The paths from your towns to all nations shall be made straight and plain, and nothing shall be permitted to hurt your feet. Your children shall rejoice and grow up in safety, and your houses shall be filled with abundance of corn and venison. I am come to tell you the good news, and to see that justice be done you in all commercial dealings.

"In the next place I speak to you, ye warriors of the great party of the Choctaw notion. You were like sons separated from their father, and removed at a great distance from his protection; but by persisting in obedience you were entitled to his love. The great King always acknowledged you, but now he receives you into his family, and offers you all the favours and privileges of sons. While you continue dutiful and obedient, the eye of your father shall be upon you, and his hand shall be open to relieve your wants. Under his care you shall enjoy all the blessings of peace and safety. You shall receive no injuries from friends, nor be exposed to any dangers from enemies. Your arms shall be kept bright, your hunting lands no man shall be permitted to take from you, and there shall be abundance of corn about your village.

"But as for you, ye Choctaw warriors of the Six Villages, you were like children early lost. While you were wandering out of the way, without knowing your brothers you blindly struck them. You found a father, indeed, who adopted you, and you have long served him with zeal, and shewn many proofs of your courage. You have received from your French father such poor rewards for your services as he could bestow; but all the while you remained under his care you were hungry, naked and miserable. He gave you many fair words and promises, and having long deceived you, at last is obliged to leave you in your present forlorn and wretched condition. Now your true father has found you, and this day stretches forth his arms to receive you under his protection. He has forgotten all your past offences. He knows your weakness, and forgives your errors. He knows your wants, and is disposed to relieve them. I have but one tongue, and always speak the truth; and as I bring you good news, I hope my words shall not be blown away by the wind. The great King is wise, generous and merciful, and I flatter myself with the hopes that you will never forget your obligations to his goodness.

"It is my duty to watch over Indians, and protect them against all manner of danger and oppression. For this purpose my ears shall be always open to your complaints, and it shall be my study to redress your grievances. I must warn you to beware of all quarrels and outrages, by which you will certainly forfeit the royal favour, and plunge yourselves again into misery. I hope you will always observe my advice, and conduct yourselves accordingly, that I may be able to transmit good accounts of your behaviour to England. It is only by the permission of the great King that your wants can be supplied, and that traders can come into your villages with guns, powder, balls, knives, hatchets, flints, hoes, clothes and other necessaries. These things you cannot make for yourselves, and no other nation will be allowed to furnish you with them. Therefore the great King has a right to expect your gratitude and obedience, for all he requires is with a view to your own tranquillity and happiness.

"As you are all received into the family of the great King, it is expected that Indians will not only live in friendship and peace with white men, but also with one another. In imitation of his Majesty's good example, you must forget all injuries and offences, and throw aside all national jealousies and antipathies. The King expects that the great chieftains, to whom he has given medals and gorgets, will consider them not merely as ornaments, but as emblems of the high offices they bear, and the great trust reposed in them. All presents made you are in consideration of the good services expected from you. Therefore, ye wise and great leaders, I expect you will use your authority like fathers, and restrain your young men from all acts of violence and injustice, and teach them that the only way to merit honour and preferment is to be just, honest and peaceable, and that disgrace and punishment will be the consequences of disorderly practices, such as robbing plantations, and beating or abusing white people.

"Ye warriors who have no commissions, I speak to you also in name of the King, and I hope you will reverence his authority and love your brethren. Listen at all times to your wise rulers, and be careful to follow their advice and example. By their wisdom and justice they have arrived at an high pitch of preferment, and stand distinguished by great and small medals. If, like them, you wish to be great, like them, you must first be good. You must respect them as children do their father, yielding submission to their authority, and obedience to their commands. Without the favour of your chiefs, you will neither get your wants supplied nor reach the station of honour. An armourer will be sent into your nation to clean and repair your rifles, but he will have instructions to mend arms to none but such as shall be recommended by their chiefs, it being proper that such leaders should have it in their power to distinguish those that are peaceable and obedient from the obstinate and perverse.

"I am to inform you all, that I will send a beloved man into your towns, who will be vested with authority to hear and determine all differences between you and the traders, to deliver all messages from me to you, and all talks from you to me. And as he will come to promote your welfare and tranquillity, I hope you will receive him kindly, protect him against all insults, and assist him in the execution of his office.

"When the French governor took his leave of you, he advised you to look upon yourselves as the children of the King of Great Britain. The advice was good, I hope you will remember it for ever. The great King has warriors numerous as the trees of the forest, and stands in no need of your assistance; but he desires your friendship and alliance to render you happy. He loves peace and justice, but he will punish all murders and rebellion. Be careful, therefore, to keep your feet far from the crooked and bloody path. Shun all communication with Indian tribes who lift the hatchet against their white brethren. Their talks, their calamets, their belts of wampum, and their tobacco are all poisonous. If you receive them into your towns, be assured you will be infected with their madness, and be in danger of rushing into destruction. Be cautious; above all things, of permitting great quantities of rum to be brought into your villages. It poisons your body, enervates your mind, and, from respectable warriors, turns you into furious madmen, who treat friends and enemies alike. Mark those persons, whether they be white or red, that bring rum among you, for bad men, who violate the laws, and have nothing else in view but to cheat, and render you despicable and wretched.

"Lastly, I inform you that it is the King's order to all his governors and subjects, to treat Indians with justice and humanity, and to forbear all encroachments on the territories allotted for them. Accordingly, all individuals are prohibited from purchasing any of your lands; but as you know that your white brethren cannot feed you when you visit them unless you give them grounds to plant, it is expected that you will cede lands to the King for that purpose. But whenever you shall be pleased to surrender any of your territories to his majesty, it must be done for the future at a public meeting of your nation, when the governors of the provinces, or the superintendent shall be present, and obtain the consent of all your people. The boundaries of your hunting grounds will be accurately fixed, and no settlement permitted to be made upon them. As you may be assured that all treaties with you will be faithfully kept, so it is expected that you also will be careful strictly to observe them. I have now done, and I hope you will remember the words I have spoken. Time will soon discover to you the generosity, justice and goodness of the British nation. By the bounty of the King, and a well-ordered trade with his subjects, your houses shall be filled with plenty, and your hearts with joy. You will see your men and women well clothed and fed, and your children growing up to honour you, and add strength to your nation; your peace and prosperity shall be established, and continue from generation to generation."

Having now endeavoured to give some account of the rise and progress of this colony for the first century after its settlement, or rather from the time the Proprietors received their second charter in 1665 to the year 1765, we shall add a general view of its present state and condition. I have purposely delayed speaking of several things, particularly of the temper, manners and character of the people, until this period, when they come more immediately under my own notice; and such observations as I have made shall now be submitted to the public view for the use of strangers, leaving all men acquainted with provincial affairs to judge for themselves, according to the different lights in which matters may have occurred to them.

[Sidenote] A description of Charlestown.

With respect to the towns in Carolina, none of them, excepting one, merit the smallest notice. Beaufort, Purisburgh, Jacksonburgh, Dorchester, Camden, and George-town, are all inconsiderable villages, having in each no more than twenty, thirty, or, at most, forty dwelling houses. But Charlestown, the capital of the province, may be ranked with the first cities of British America, and yearly advances in size, riches and population. It is situated upon a neck of land at the continence of Ashley and Cooper rivers, which are large and navigable, and wash at least two third parts of the town. These rivers mingle their streams immediately below the town, and, running six or seven miles farther, empty themselves at Sullivan's island into the Atlantic Ocean. By means of such broad rivers the sea is laid open from east to southeast, and the town fanned by gentle breezes from the ocean, which are very refreshing to the inhabitants during the summer months. The tide flows a great way above the town, and occasions an agitation in the air which is also productive of salutary effects. So low and level is the ground upon which Charlestown is built, that the inhabitants are obliged to raise banks of earth, as barriers, to defend themselves against the higher floods of the sea. The streets from east to west extend from river to river, and, running in a straight line, not only open a beautiful prospect, but also afford excellent opportunities, by means of subterranean drains, for removing all nuisances; and keeping the town clean and healthy. These streets are intersected by others, nearly at right angles, and throw the town into a number of squares, with dwelling houses on the front, and office-houses and little gardens behind them. Some of the streets are broad, which in such a climate is a necessary and wise regulation, for where narrow lanes and alleys have been tolerated, they prove by their confined situation a fruitful nursery for diseases of different kinds. The town, which was at first entirely built of wood, as might be expected, has often suffered from fire; but such calamities, though they fell heavy on individuals, have given the inhabitants frequent opportunities of making considerable improvements in it. Now most houses are built of brick, three storeys high, some of them elegant, and all neat habitations; within they are genteelly furnished, and without exposed as much as possible to the refreshing breezes from the sea. Many of them are indeed encumbered with balconies and piazzas, but these are found convenient and even necessary during the hot season, into which the inhabitants retreat for enjoying the benefit of fresh air, which is commonly occasioned, and always increased, by the flux and reflux of the sea. Almost every family have their pump-wells, but the water in them being at no great distance from the salt river, and filtered only through sand, is brackish, and commonly occasions severe griping and purging to every person not accustomed to it. The town consisted at this time of, at least, twelve hundred dwelling houses, and was in at advancing state. The public buildings are, an Exchange, a State-House, an Armoury, two churches for Episcopalians, one for Presbyterians, two for French and Dutch Protestants; to which may be added, meeting-houses for Anabaptists, Independents, Quakers and Jews. Upon the sides of the rivers wharfs are built, to which all ships that come over the bar may lie close; and having stores and ware-houses erected upon them, are exceedingly convenient for importing and exporting all kinds of merchandise.

The harbour is also tolerably well fortified, the King having at different times presented the province with great guns for that purpose. Towards Cooper river the town is defended by a number of batteries, insomuch that no ships of an enemy can approach it without considerable hazard. Besides these, the passage up to it is secured by Fort Johnson, built on James's Island, about two miles below the town. This fort stands in a commanding situation, within point-blank shot of the channel, through which every ship, in their way to and from Charlestown, must pass. The commander of Fort Johnson is commissioned by the King, and has authority to stop every ship coming in until the master or mate shall make oath that there is no malignant distemper on board. It has barracks for fifty men; but, in case of emergency, it obtains assistance from the militia of the island. During the late Cherokee war a plan was also formed for fortifying the town towards the land, with a horn-work built of tappy, flanked with batteries and redoubts at proper distances, and extending from river to river; but, after having spent a great sum of money on this work, peace being restored, the design was dropt.

[Sidenote] The number of its inhabitants.

In 1765 the number of white inhabitants in Charlestown amounted to between five and fix thousand, and the number of negroes to between seven and eight thousand. With respect to the number of white inhabitants in the province we cannot be certain, but we may form some conjecture from the militia roll; for as all male persons from sixteen to sixty are obliged by law to bear arms and muster in the regiments, and as the whole militia formed a body of between seven and eight thousand, reckoning the fifth person fit for military duty, the whole inhabitants in the province might amount to near forty thousand. But the number of negroes was not less than eighty or ninety thousand. As no exact register of the births and funerals has been kept at Charlestown for several years, we cannot ascertain the proportion between them. Formerly, when bills of mortality were annually printed, the common computation was, that, while no contagious disorder prevailed in town, one out of thirty-five died yearly, or one out of each family in the space of seven years. However, the list of deaths is often increased by the sailors and transient persons that die in the town, and by malignant distempers imported into it. It is generally believed, that the number of births among the settled inhabitants exceeds that of funerals; but we shall affirm nothing with respect to this matter without better authority than common observation and conjecture.

[Sidenote] A general view of the manners &c. of the people.

With respect to temper and character, the inhabitants of Carolina differ little from those of Great Britain and Ireland; I mean, such as derived their origin from those islands, for the descendents of other nations still retain something of the complexion, manners and customs of those countries from whence they came. In stature, the natives of Carolina are about the middle size; for in Europe we meet with men both taller and shorter. They are, generally speaking, more forward and quick in growth than the natives of cold climates. Indeed we may say, there are no boys or girls in the province, for from childhood they are introduced into company, and assume the air and behaviour of men and women. Many of them have an happy and natural quickness of apprehension, especially in the common affairs of life, and manage business with ease and discretion; but want that steadiness, application and perseverance necessary to the highest improvements in the arts and sciences. Several natives who have had their education in Britain, have distinguished themselves by their knowledge in the laws and constitution of their country; but those who have been bred in the province, having their ideas confined to a narrower sphere, have as yet made little figure as men of genius or learning. Agriculture being more lucrative than any other employment, all who possess lands and negroes apply their chief attention to the improvement of their fortune, regardless of the higher walks of science. They commonly marry early in life, and of course are involved in domestic cares and concerns before their minds have had time to ripen in knowledge and judgment. In the progress of society they have not advanced beyond that period in which men are distinguished more by their external than internal accomplishments. Hence it happens, that beauty, figure, agility and strength form the principal distinctions among them, especially in the country. Among English people they are chiefly known by the number of their slaves, the value of their annual produce, or the extent of their landed estate. For the most part they are lively and gay, adapting their dress to the nature of the climate in which they live, and discover no small taste and neatness in their outward appearance. Their intercourse and communication with Britain being easy and frequent, all novelties in fashion, dress and ornament are quickly introduced; and even the spirit of luxury and extravagance, too common in England, was beginning to creep into Carolina. Almost every family kept their chaises for a single horse, and some of the principal planters of late years have imported fine horses and splendid carriages from Britain. They discover no bad taste for the polite arts, such as music, drawing, fencing and dancing; and it is acknowledged by all, but especially by strangers, that the ladies in the province considerably outshine the men. They are not only sensible, discreet and virtuous, but also adorned with most of those polite and elegant accomplishments becoming their sex. The Carolineans in general are affable and easy in their manners, and exceedingly kind and hospitable to all strangers. There are few old men or women to be found in the province, which is a sure sign of the unhealthiness of the climate. We cannot say that there are many in the country that arrive at their sixtieth year, and several at thirty bear the wrinkles, bald head and grey hairs of old age. As every person by diligence and application may earn a comfortable livelihood, there are few poor people in the province, except the idle or unfortunate. Nor is the number of rich people great; most of them being in what we call easy and independent circumstances. It has been remarked, that there are more persons possessed of between five and ten thousand pounds sterling in the province, than are to be found any where among the same number of people. In respect of rank, all men regarded their neighbour as their equal, and a noble spirit of benevolence pervaded the society. In point of industry the town was like a bee-hive, and there were none that reaped not advantages more or less from the flourishing state of trade and commerce. Pride and ambition had not as yet crept into this community; but the province was fast advancing to that state of power and opulence, when some distinctions among men necessarily take place.

[Sidenote] And of their way of living.

With respect to the manner of living in Charlestown, it is nearly the same as in England; and many circumstances concur to render it neither very difficult nor expensive to furnish plentiful tables. They have tea from England, and coffee, chocolate and sugar from the West Indies, in plenty. Butter is good, especially at that season when the fields are cleared of rice, and the cows are admitted into them; and it is so plentiful that they export a good deal of it to the Leeward Islands. The province produces some flour for bread; but it being of an inferior quality, the inhabitants chiefly make use of that imported from New York and Philadelphia. In the market there is plenty of beef, pork, veal, poultry and venison, and a great variety of wild-fowls and salt-water fish. The mutton from the low lands is not so good as that from the hills in the interior parts, but as the back country is now well settled, it is hoped that the market in time will be likewise well supplied with mutton from it. They have also a variety of the finest fruits and vegetables in their season. Their principal drink is punch, or grog, which is composed of rum well diluted with water. With respect to wine, Madeira is not only best suited to the climate, in which it improves by heat and age, but also most commonly used by the people in general, though French, Spanish and Portuguese wines are likewise presented at the tables of the most opulent citizens. Besides these, they have porter and beer from England, and cyder and perry from the northern colonies. Where rum is cheap, excess in the use of it will not be uncommon, especially among the lower class of people; but the gentlemen in general are sober, industrious and temperate. In short, the people are not only blessed with plenty, but with a disposition to share it among friends and neighbours; and many will bear me witness, when I say, that travellers could scarcely go into any city where they could meet with a society of people more agreeable, intelligent and hospitable than that at Charlestown.

[Sidenote] The arts and sciences only of late encouraged.

Though the arts and sciences had been long neglected, and have as yet made no great progress in the province, yet of late years they have met with great encouragement. The people in general stand not only much indebted to an ingenious bookseller, who introduced many of the most distinguished authors among them, but several of the most respectable citizens also united and formed a society for the promotion of literature, having obtained a charter of incorporation for that purpose. All the new publications in London, and many of the most valuable books, both ancient and modern, have been imported for the use of this society the members of which were ambitious of proving themselves the worthy descendants of British ancestors, by transporting not only their inferior arts of industry and agriculture, but also their higher improvements in philosophy and jurisprudence. Their design was not confined to the present generation, but extended to posterity, having the institution of a college in view, so soon as the funds of the society should admit of it. News-papers were also printed, for supplying the province with the freshest and most useful intelligence of all that passed in the political and commercial world. For amusement the inhabitants of Charlestown had not only books and public papers, but also assemblies, balls, concerts and plays, which were attended by companies almost equally brilliant as those of any town in Europe of the same size.

[Sidenote] The militia and internal strength of the province.

Charlestown had its armoury, magazine, and militia, and every citizen, like those of ancient Sparta, joined the military to the civil character. The officers of the militia are appointed by the Governor, who commonly nominates such men from among the inhabitants to command the rest as are most distinguished for their courage and capacity. All men of the military age being registered in the militia roll, each person knows the company to which he belongs, the captain who commands it, and is obligated to keep his arms in order, and to appear properly equipped in case of any alarm or other emergency. We cannot say that the militia in general made a good appearance, or seemed expert at the use of arms; but the companies of grenadiers, light infantry, and artillery, were extravagantly gay, and tolerably well disciplined. As most of the men were equally independent as their officers, that prompt obedience to orders, necessary in a regular army, could not be expected from them; but being conscious that union of strength was necessary to the common safety, on all emergencies they appeared under arms with alacrity and expedition. By the militia law the merchants and tradesmen of the city were subjected to some temporary inconveniencies and interruptions of business; but as agriculture was chiefly carried on by slaves, and nature brought the fruits of the earth to maturity, the planters in the country had abundance of time to spare for military exercises. Their rural life, and the constant use of arms, promoted a kind of martial spirit among them, and the great dangers to which they were always exposed, habituated them to face an enemy with resolution. Fortunately a natural antipathy subsisted between Indians and negroes, and prevented the two from uniting and conspiring the destruction of the colony. Therefore, while Indians remained quiet and peaceable, it was not the interest of the province to have them removed at a great distance; for had they been driven over the Mississippi, or extirpated, their place would probably have been supplied by fugitive slaves, who, by taking shelter in the mountains, would have proved an enemy equally, if not more, cruel and formidable to Carolina than the Indians themselves; or had the savage nations given encouragement to slaves to fly to them for liberty and protection, fatal must the consequences have been to the settlement.

[Sidenote] Of its societies formed for mutual support and relief.

Thus exposed to barbarians, the members of this little community knew that union of strength was not only requisite to the common safety, but both interest and duty naturally led them to establish societies with a particular view of raising funds for relieving each others wants. Though every person was obliged by law to contribute, in proportion to his estate, for the relief of the poor of the province, yet, besides this, there were several societies formed and incorporated for the particular purpose of assisting such families belonging to them as might happen to be unfortunate in trade, or in any other way reduced to an indigent state. Among these there is one called The South-Carolina Society, which merits particular notice. At first it consisted not of the most opulent citizens, though many of these afterwards joined it, but of persons in moderate stations, who held it an essential duty to relieve one another in such a manner as their circumstances would admit; accordingly they united, elected officers, and, by trifling weekly contributions, donations and legacies, together with good management, in process of time accumulated a considerable stock. A common seal was provided, with the device of a hand planting a vine, and the motto Posteritati. The Heavens smile on humane and generous designs. Many observing the great usefulness of this society, petitioned for admission into it; and as its numbers increased its stock enlarged. In 1738, their capital amounted to no more than L.213: 16 s.; but, in 1776, it had arisen to a sum not less than L. 68,787: 10: 3, current money. All the while their works of charity have likewise been conspicuous and extensive. Many unfortunate and sinking families have been supported by them in a decent and respectable manner. Many helpless orphans have been educated, and prepared for being useful members of society. Several other societies in Charlestown have been founded upon the same plan, and on many occasions the inhabitants in general, (it may be mentioned to their honour), have discovered a benevolent and charitable spirit, not only to poor people in the province, but also to unfortunate strangers.

[Sidenote] Of its merchants and trade.

The merchants in Carolina are a respectable body of men, industrious and indefatigable in business, free, open and generous in their manner of conducting it. The whole warehouses in Charlestown were like one common store, to which every trader had access for supplying his customers with those kinds of goods and manufactures which they wanted. The merchants of England, especially since the late peace, observing the colonies perfectly secure, and depending on the strength of the British navy for the protection of trade, vied with each other for customers in America, and stretched their credit to its utmost extent for supplying the provinces. Hence every one of them were well furnished with all kinds of merchandise. But as the staples of Carolina were valuable, and in much demand, credit was extended to that province almost without limitation, and vast multitudes of negroes, and goods of all kinds, were yearly sent to it. In proportion as the merchants of Charlestown received credit from England, they were enabled to extend it to the planters in the country, who purchased slaves with great eagerness, and enlarged their culture. Though the number of planters had of late years much increased, yet they bore no proportion to the vast extent of territory, and lands were still easily procured, either by patent or by purchase. According to the number of hands employed in labour, agriculture prospered and trade was enlarged. An uncommon circumstance also attended this rapid progress, which was favourable to the planting interest, and proved an additional incentive to industry. The price of staple commodities arose as the quantity brought to market increased. In 1761 rice sold at forty shillings per barrel, and indigo at two shillings per lib.; but in 1771 in so flourishing a state was the commerce of this country, that rice brought at market three pounds ten shillings per barrel, and indigo three shillings per lib. At the same time the quantity increased so much, that the exports of Carolina amounted, upon an average of three years after the peace, to L. 395,666: 13: 4; but, in 1771, the exports in that year alone arose to a sum not less than L. 756,000 sterling. How great then must the imports have been, when the province, notwithstanding this amazing increase, still remained in debt to the mother country.

[Sidenote] Of its planters and agriculture.

To this advanced state had Carolina arrived in point of improvement. Agriculture, beyond doubt, is of such importance to every country, that, next to public security and the distribution of justice and equity, it is the interest of every government to encourage it. Nothing could more manifestly promote industry and agriculture, than that fair and equitable division of lands among the people which took place in this province. Immense tracts of ground in possession of one man, without hands to cultivate and improve them, are only unprofitable deserts: but when lands are judiciously parcelled out among the people, industry is thereby encouraged, population increased, and trade promoted. The lands first yield abundance for the inhabitants, and then more than they can consume. When this is the case, the overplus can be spared for procuring foreign articles of exchange, and the province is thereby furnished with the conveniencies and luxuries of another climate and country. Then the planter's views are turned to the advantages of trade, and the merchant's, in return, to the success of husbandry. From which time a mutual dependence subsists between them, and it is the interest of the one to encourage the other. For when the merchants receive nothing from the province, it is impossible they can afford to import anything into it. Without cultivation commerce must always languish, being deprived of its chief supplies, the fruits of the earth. Without credit from the merchant there would have been little encouragement to emigrate to Carolina. A single arm could make little impression on the forest. A poor family, depending for support on the labour of one man, would have long remained in a starving condition, and scarcely ten of an hundred emigrants, obliged to work in such a climate, would have survived the tenth year after their arrival. To what causes then shall we ascribe the prosperity of the province? The answer is plain. Under the royal care the people, being favoured with every advantage resulting from public security, an indulgent government, abundance of land, large credit, liberty to labour and to reap the whole fruits of it, protection to trade, and an excellent market for every staple, laboured with success. These were powerful motives to emigrate, strong incentives to industry, and the principal causes of its rapid advances towards maturity. No colony that ever was planted can boast of greater advantages. Few have, in the space of an hundred years, improved and flourished in an equal degree.

Notwithstanding the favourable situation for agriculture in which the Carolineans stood, they remained slovenly husbandmen, and every stranger was astonished at the negligent manner in which all estates in the province were managed. Those planters who had arrived at easy or affluent circumstances employed overseers; and having little to do but to ride round their fields now and then, to see that their affairs were not neglected, or their slaves abused, indulge themselves in rural amusements, such as racing, mustering, hunting, fishing, or social entertainments. For the gun and dog the country affords some game, such as small partridges, woodcocks, rabbits, &c. but few of the planters are fond of that kind of diversion. To chace the fox or the deer is their favourite amusement, and they are forward and bold riders, and make their way through the woods and thickets with astonishing speed. The horses of the country, though hardy and serviceable animals, make little figure; and therefore, to improve the breed, many have been of late years imported from England. The planters being fond of fine horses, have been at great pains to raise them, so that they now have plenty of an excellent kind, both for the carriage and the turf.

In every plantation great care is taken in making dams to preserve water, for overflowing the rice-fields in summer, without which they will yield no crops. In a few years after this pond is made, the planters find it stocked with a variety of fishes; but in what manner they breed, or whence they come, they cannot tell, and therefore leave that matter to philosophical inquirers to determine. Some think that the spawn of fishes is exhaled from the large lakes of fresh water in the continent, and being brought in thunder-clouds, falls with the drops of rain into these reservoirs of water. Others imagine that it must have remained every where among the sand since that time the sea left these maritime parts of the continent. Others are of opinion, that young fish are brought by water-fowls, which are very numerous, from one pond to another, and there dropt, by which means the new-made pools receive their supply. But be the cause what it will, the effect is visible and notorious all over the country. When the ponds are stocked with fishes, it becomes an agreeable amusement to catch them, by hawling a sene[*] through the pool. Parties of pleasure are formed for this purpose, so that the young planters, like gentlemen of fortune, being often abroad at these rural sports and social entertainments, their domestic affairs by such means are much neglected, and their plantations carelessly managed.

[Transcriber's note: The word 'sene' appears thus in the original. Might be an uncommon misprint of 'sieve'.]

But even among the most diligent and attentive planters we see not that nice arrangement and order in their fields observable in most places of Europe, probably owing to the plenty and cheapness of land. In every country where landed estates are easily procured, they engross not that care and attention requisite for making them yield the greatest returns. The freeholds in Carolina are not only easily obtained by patent or purchase, but also all alienable at pleasure; so that few of the present generation of planters regulate their system of husbandry upon any established principles or plans, much less with any views to posterity. In no country have the finest improvements been found in the first ages of cultivation. This remains for a future day, and when lands shall be more scarce and valuable, and the country better peopled; then, it is probable, Carolina will cover, like other countries, the effects of the nice art and careful management of the husbandman.

At present the common method of cultivation is as follows. After the planter has obtained his tract of land, and built a house upon it, he then begins to clear his field of that load of wood with which the land is covered. Nature points out to him where to begin his labours; for the soil, however various, is every where easily distinguished, by the different kinds of trees which grow upon it. Having cleared his field, he next surrounds it with a wooden fence, to exclude all hogs, sheep and cattle from it. This field he plants with rice or indigo, year after year, until the lands are exhausted or yield not a crop sufficient to answer his expectations. Then it is forsaken, and a fresh spot of land is cleared and planted, which is also treated in like manner, and in succession forsaken and neglected. Although there are vast numbers of cattle bred in the province, yet no manure is provided for improving the soil. No trials of a different grain are made. No grass seeds are sown in the old fields for enriching the pastures, so that either shrubs and bushes again spring up in them, or they are overgrown with a kind of coarse grass, grateful or nourishing to no animal. Like farmers often moving from place to place, the principal study with the planters is the art of making the largest profit for the present time, and if this end is obtained, it gives them little concern how much the land may be exhausted. The emulation that takes place among the present generation, is not who shall put his estate in the most beautiful order, who shall manage it with most skill and judgment for posterity; but who shall bring the largest crop to the market. Let their children provide for themselves. They will endeavour to leave them plenty of labourers, and they know they can easily obtain abundance of lands; vain and absurd, therefore, would it be to bestow much pains and time in preparing this or that landed estate for them, and laying it out in fine order, which they are certain will be deserted so soon as the lands are exhausted.

Such is the present method of carrying on agriculture in Carolina, and it may do for some time, but every one must clearly see that it will be productive of bad effects. The richness of the soil, and the vast quantity of lands, have deceived many, even those men who had been bred farmers in England, and made them turn out as careless husbandmen as the natives themselves. Wherever you go in this province, you may discover the ignorance of the people with respect to agriculture, and the small degree of perfection to which they have yet attained in this useful art. This will not be the case much longer, for lands will become scarce, and time and experience, by unfolding the nature of the soil, and discovering to the planters their errors, will teach them, as circumstances change, to alter also their present rules, and careless manner of cultivation. In every country improvements are gradual and progressive. In such a province as Carolina, where the lands are good, new staples will be introduced, new sources of wealth will open; and, if we may judge from what is past, we may conclude, that, if no misunderstandings or quarrels shall interrupt its future progress, it certainly promises to be one of the most flourishing settlements in the world. We have seen that its exports are already very great, even while the lands are negligently cultivated and ill managed; but how much greater will they be when the art of agriculture shall hare arrived at the same degree of perfection in that province as in England.

[Sidenote] An interruption of the harmony between Britain and her colonies, and the causes of it.

Such, at this period, was the happy situation of the people and province of South Carolina; safe under the royal care and protection, and advancing to an opulent state by the unlimited credit and great indulgence granted by Britain. However, if we proceed a little farther, we shall see the face of things gradually changing. We shall behold the mother country, as the wealth of her colonies increased, attempting some alteration in their political and commercial system: and the different provinces, infected with pride and ambition, aspiring after independence. Let us take a slight view of the causes of that unhappy quarrel which at this time began between them, and afterwards proceeded to such a degree of violence as to threaten a total dissolution of all political union and commercial intercourse.

It might have been expected that those colonies would not soon forget their obligations to the mother country, by which they had been so long cherished and defended. As all the colonies were in themselves so many independent societies, and as in every state protection and allegiance are reciprocal and inseparable duties, one would have thought that subjects would yield obedience to the laws, and submission to the authority of that government under which they claimed protection. Such was the constitution of the provinces, that each, by its own legislature, could only regulate the internal police within the bounds of its territory. Thus far, and no farther, did its authority extend. Not one of them could either make or execute regulations binding upon another. They had no common council, empowered by the constitution, to act for and to bind all, though perhaps good policy now required the establishment of such a council, for the purpose of raising a revenue from them. Every member of the vast empire might perceive, that some common tax, regularly and impartially imposed, in proportion to the strength of each division, was necessary to the future defence and protection of the whole. In particular, the people of Great Britain, when they looked forward to the possible contingency of a new war, and considered the burdens under which they groaned, had a melancholy and dreadful prospect before them; and the parliament considered it as their indispensible duty to relieve them as much as possible, and provide for the safety of the state by a proportionable charge on all its subjects. For as the exemption of one part from this equal charge was unreasonable and unjust, so it might tend to alienate the hearts of these subjects residing in one corner of the empire from those in another, and destroy that union and harmony in which the strength of the whole consisted.

Such were probably the views and designs of the parliament of Great Britain at this juncture, with respect to America. At the same time, if we consider the genius, temper and circumstances of the Americans, we will find them jealous of their liberties, proud of their strength, and sensible of their importance to Britain. They had hitherto obeyed the laws of the British parliament; but their great distance, their vast extent of territory, their numerous ports and conveniencies for trade, their increasing numbers, their various productions, and consequently their growing power, had now prepared and enabled them for resisting such laws as they deemed inconsistent with their interest, or dangerous to their liberty. Some of these colonists even inherited a natural aversion to monarchy from their forefathers, and on all occasions discovered a strong tendency towards a republican form Of government, both in church and state. So that, before the parliament began to exert its authority for raising a revenue from them, they were prepared to shew their importance, and well disposed for resisting that supreme power, and loosening by degrees their connection with the parent state.

America was not only sensible of her growing strength and importance, but also of the weakness of the mother country, reduced by a tedious and expensive war, and groaning under an immense load of national debt. The colonies boasted of the assistance they had given during the war, and Great Britain, sensible of their services, was generous enough to reimburse them part of the expences which they had incurred. After this they began to over-rate their importance, to rise in their demands, and to think so highly of their trade and alliance, as to deem it impossible for Britain to support her credit without them. In vain did the mother country rely upon their gratitude for past favours, so as to expect relief with respect to her present burdens. We allow, that the first generation of emigrants retained some affection for Britain during their lives, and gloried in calling her their home and their mother country; but this natural impression wears away from the second, and is entirely obliterated in the third. Among the planters in all the colonies this was manifestly the case; the sons of Englishmen in America by degrees lost their affection for England, and it was remarkable, that the most violent enemies to Scotland were the descendants of Scotchmen.

But among merchants, the attachment to any particular country is still sooner lost. Men whose great object is money, and whose business is to gather it as fast as possible, in fact retain a predilection for any country no longer than it affords them the greatest advantages. They are citizens of the world at large, and provided they gain money, it is a matter of indifference to them to what country they trade, and from what quarter of the globe it comes. England is the best country for them, so long as it allows them to reap the greatest profits in the way of traffic; and when that is not the case, a trade with France, Spain, or Holland will answer better. If the laws of Great Britain interfere with their favourite views and interests, merchants will endeavour to elude them, and smuggle in spite of legal authority. Of late years, although the trade of the colonies with the mother country had increased beyond the hopes of the most sanguine politicians, yet the American merchants could not be confined to it, but carried on a contraband trade with the colonies of France and Spain, in defiance of all the British laws of trade and navigation. This illicit trade the people had found very advantageous, having their returns in specie for their provisions and goods, and the vast number of creeks and rivers in America proved favourable to such smugglers. During the late war this trade had been made a treasonable practice, as it served to supply those islands which Britain wanted to reduce; but, after the conclusion of the war, it returned to its former channel, and increased beyond example in any past period.

[Sidenote] The new regulations made in the trade of the colonies give great offence.

To prevent this illicit commerce, it was found necessary, soon after the peace, to establish some new regulations in the trade of the colonies. For this purpose some armed sloops and cutters were stationed on the coasts of America, whose commanders had authority to act as revenue officers, and to seize all ships employed in that contraband trade, whether belonging to foreigners or fellow-subjects. And to render these commercial regulations the more effectual, courts of admiralty were erected, and invested with a jurisdiction more extensive than usual. In consequence of the restrictions laid on this trade, which the smugglers found so advantageous, it suffered much, and, notwithstanding the number of creeks and rivers, was almost annihilated. This occasioned some very spirited representations to be sent across the Atlantic by merchants, who declared that the Americans bought annually to the amount of three millions of British commodities: That their trade with the French and Spanish colonies took off such goods as remained an encumbrance on their hands, and made returns in specie, to the mutual advantage of both parties concerned in it. They complained, that the British ships of war were converted into Guarda Costas, and their commanders into custom-house officers; an employment utterly unworthy of the exalted character of the British navy: That naval officers were very unfit for this business in which they were employed, being naturally imperious in their tempers, and little acquainted with the various cases in which ships were liable to penalties, or in which they were exempted from detention: That that branch of trade was thereby ruined, by which alone they were furnished with gold and silver for making remittances to England; and that though the loss fell first upon them, it would ultimately fall on the commerce and revenue of Great Britain.

[Sidenote] A vote passed for charging stamp-duties on the Americans.

Soon after this an act of parliament was passed, which, while it in some respects rendered this commercial intercourse with the foreign settlements legal, at the same time loaded a great part of the trade with duties, and ordered the money arising from them to be paid in specie to the British exchequer. Instead of giving the colonists any relief, this occasioned greater murmurs and complaints among them, as it manifestly tended to drain the provinces of their gold and silver. At the same time another act was passed, for preventing such paper bills of credit as might afterwards be issued for the conveniency of their internal commerce, from being made a legal tender in the payment of debts. This served to multiply their grievances, and aggravate their distress. But that the provinces might he supplied with money for their internal trade, all gold and silver arising from these duties were to be reserved, and applied to the particular purpose of paying troops stationed in the colonies for their defence. Several new regulations for encouraging their trade with Great Britain were also established. In consequence of a petition for opening more ports for the rice trade, leave was granted to the provinces of South Carolina and Georgia to carry their rice for a limited time into foreign parts, on its paying British duties at the place of exportation. A bounty was given on hemp and undressed flax imported into Britain from the American colonies; and a bill was passed for encouraging the whale-fishery on the coasts of America: which advantages, it was thought, would amply compensate for any loss the colonies might sustain by the duties laid on their foreign trade. But the colonists, especially those in New England, who had advanced to such a degree of strength as rendered troops unnecessary for their defence, were too much soured in their tempers, to allow that Great Britain had any other than self-interested views in her whole conduct towards them. They murmured and complained, and resolved on a plan of retrenchment with respect to the purchasing of British manufactures; but still they presumed not openly to call in question the authority of the British legislature over them. But the time was at hand when their affection to the mother country, which was already considerably weaned, should undergo a greater trial, and when their real dispositions with respect to the obedience due to the British parliament would no longer be concealed. A vote passed in the House of Commons, and very unanimously, "That, towards the farther defraying of the necessary expences of protecting the colonies, it may he proper to charge certain stamp-duties upon them."

[Sidenote] Upon which the people of New-England discover their disaffection to government.

When the news of this determination reached America, all the colonies were in some degree uneasy at the thoughts of paying taxes; but the colonists of New England, as if ripe for some commotion, were alarmed with the most terrible apprehensions and suspicions, openly affirming, that the King, Lords and Commons had formed a design for enslaving them, and had now begun deliberately to put it in execution. Immediately they entered into associations for distressing the mother country, from a principle of resentment, as some thought, agreeing to purchase as few clothes and goods from her as possible, and to encourage manufactures of all kinds within themselves. They pretended that they were driven to such measures by necessity; but in reality they had nothing less in view than their favourite plan of independence, for the accomplishment of which it required time to secure the union and help of the other colonies, without which they plainly perceived all attempts of their own would be vain and fruitless. Accordingly they established a correspondence with some leading men in each colony, representing the conduct of Great Britain in the most odious light, and declaring that nothing could prevent them and their posterity from being made slaves but the firmest union and most vigorous opposition of every colony, to all laws made in Great Britain on purpose to raise a revenue in the plantations. A few discontented persons, who are commonly to be found in every legislature, joined the disaffected colonists of New England; and though at this time the party was inconsiderable, yet being more firmly cemented together by the prospect of a stamp-act, which equally affected the interest of all, it by degrees gained strength, and at length became formidable.

[Sidenote] An opportunity given the colonies to offer a compensation for the stamp-duty.

Such measures, however, did not intimidate the British ministers, who imagined that an association entered into from a principle of resentment would be of short duration, and that the colonies in general would be averse from any serious quarrel with the mother country, upon which they depended for safety and protection. And although they were well apprised of this sullen and obstinate disposition of the colonists before the bill was introduced, yet they took no measures for preventing that opposition, which they had reason to believe would be made to the execution of their law. On the contrary, time was imprudently given to sound the temper of the colonies with respect to it, and to give them an opportunity of offering a compensation for it in their own way, in case they were dissatisfied with that method of raising a revenue for their defence. The minister even signified to the agents of the colonies his readiness to receive proposals from them for any other tax that might be equivalent to the stamp-duty. This he did although he thought that the parliament not only had a right to tax them, but also that it was expedient and proper to exercise that right. For as the colonies had no common council empowered by their constitution to bind all, their taxing themselves equally and impartially would be a matter of great difficulty, even although they should be disposed to agree to it. But the colonies, instead of making any proposal for raising a revenue by a stamp-duty or any other way, sent home petitions to be presented to King, Lords, and Commons, questioning, in the most direct and positive terms, the jurisdiction of Parliament over their properties.

[Sidenote] The stamp-act passes in parliament.

In this situation of affairs, the Parliament, sensible of the heavy burden which already lay on the people of Great Britain, and of the addition to it which another war must occasion, thought it their indispensable duty to exert that authority, which before this time had never been called in question, for relieving this oppressed part of the nation, and providing for the common safety, by a charge impartially laid upon all subjects, in proportion to their abilities. The tender indulgence exercised by a parent over her children in their infant state, was now considered as both unreasonable and unnecessary in that state of maturity to which the colonies had advanced. All were obliged to confess, that the people of America were favoured with the same privileges and advantages with their fellow-subjects of Britain, and justice required that they should contribute to the necessary expences of that government under which they lived, and by which they were protected. A revenue was necessary to the future security of America; and on whom should it be raised, but those colonists who were to enjoy the benefit of such protection. Therefore the bill for laying a stamp-duty upon the colonies was brought into parliament; which, after much debate, and many strong arguments urged on both sides, passed through both houses, and received the royal assent by commission, on the 22d of March, 1765. At the same time, to compensate for the operations of the stamp-act, another was made to encourage the importation of all kinds of timber from the colonies into Britain: and as the estimated produce of the stamp-act amounted only to L. 60,000 per annum, and timber was so plentiful over all the plantations, it was thought that the great advantage which the colonies must reap from the latter act, would be an ample recompense for the loss they might sustain from the former.

[Sidenote] Violent measures taken to prevent its execution.

In the mean time the inhabitants of New England were industrious in spreading an alarm of danger over all the continent, and making all possible preparations for resistance. They had turned a jealous eye towards the mother country, where they had many friends employed to watch her conduct, who failed not to give them the earliest intelligence of what was doing in parliament. While they received the news that the stamp-act had passed, they at the same time had intelligence of that violent opposition it had met with from a strong faction in the House of Commons. And if their friends in Britain had the boldness to call in question both the right of the British legislature to impose taxes on the colonies, and the expediency of exercising that right, they thought that they had much better reason to do so; and that none deserved the blessing of liberty who had not courage to assert their right to it. Accordingly, no means were neglected that could inflame and exasperate the populace. Bold and seditious speeches were made to stir up the people to resistance; by representing the act in the most odious light, and affirming that it would be attended with consequences subversive of all their invaluable rights and privileges. They declared that silence was a crime at such a critical time, and that a tame submission to the stamp-act would leave their liberties and properties entirely at the disposal of a British parliament. Having obtained a copy of the act, they publicly burnt it. The ships in the harbours hung out their colours half-mast high, in token of the deepest mourning; the bells in the churches were muffled, and set a-ringing, to communicate the melancholy news from one parish to another. These flames, kindled in New England, soon spread through all the capital towns along the coast; so that there was scarcely a sea-port town in America in which combinations were not framed for opposing the introduction of stamp-paper.

When the vessels arrived which carried those stamp-papers to America, the captains were obliged to take shelter under the stern of some ships of war, or to surrender their cargoes into the hands of the enraged populace. The gentlemen appointed to superintend the distribution of stamps, were met by the mob at their landing, and compelled to resign their office. All men suspected of having any desire of complying with the act, or of favouring the introduction of stamps into America, were insulted and abused. The governors of the provinces had no military force to support civil authority. The magistrates connived at these irregular and riotous proceedings of the people. The assemblies adopted the arguments of the minority in parliament, and took encouragement from them to resist the authority of the supreme legislature. Though each colony in respect of another was a separate and independent society, without any political connection, or any supreme head to call the representatives of the people together, to act in concert for the common good; yet in this case almost all, of their own authority, sent deputies to meet in congress at New York, who drew up and signed one general declaration of their rights, and of the grievances under which they laboured, and transmitted a petition to the King, Lords and Commons, imploring relief.

[Sidenote] The assembly of Carolina study ways and means of eluding the act.

Among the rest a party in South Carolina, which province at this time, from inclination, duty and interest, was very firmly attached to the mother country, entered warmly into the general opposition. Lieutenant-governor Bull, a native of the province, manifested a desire of complying with the act, and supporting the legal and constitutional dependency of the colony on the crown and parliament of Great Britain; but wanted power sufficient for maintaining the dignity and authority of his government, and carrying that act into execution. Several old and wise men joined him, and declared that they had formerly taken an active part in bringing the province under his majesty's care, but would now be very cautious of resisting the authority of parliament, and robbing it of that protection which it had so long and so happily enjoyed. The members of assembly, finding the Lieutenant-governor determined to transact no public business but in compliance with the act of parliament, began to deliberate how they might best elude it. For this purpose they addressed him, begging to be informed whether the stamp act, said to be passed in parliament, had been transmitted to him by the Secretary of State, the Lords of Trade; or any other authentic channel, since he considered himself as under obligations to enforce it. He replied, that he had received it from Thomas Boone, the Governor of the province. The assembly declared, that they could consider Mr. Boone, while out of the bounds of his government, in no other light than that of a private gentleman, and that his receiving it in such a channel was not authority sufficient to oblige him to execute so grievous an act. But Mr. Bull and his council were of opinion, that the channel in which he had received it was equally authentic with that in which he had formerly received many laws, to which they had quietly submitted. Upon which the assembly came to the following resolutions, which were signed by Peter Manigault their speaker, and ordered to be printed, that they might be transmitted to posterity, in order to shew the sense of that house with respect to the obedience due by America to the British parliament.

[Sidenote] Their resolutions respecting the obedience due to the British parliament.

"Resolved, That his Majesty's subjects in Carolina owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain that is due from its subjects born there. That his Majesty's liege subjects of this province are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain. That the inhabitants of this province appear also to be confirmed in all the rights aforementioned, not only by their character, but by an act of parliament, 13th George II. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent. That the people of this province are not, and from their local circumstances cannot be represented in the House of Commons in Great Britain; and farther, that, in the opinion of this house, the several powers of legislation in America were constituted in some measure upon the apprehension of this impracticability. That the only representatives of the people of this province are persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be, constitutionally imposed on them but by the legislature of this province. That all supplies to the Crown being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution for the people of Great Britain to grant to his Majesty the property of the people of this province. That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in this province. That the act of parliament, entitled, An act for granting and applying certain stamp-duties and other duties on the British colonies and plantations in America, &c. by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of this province; and the said act and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of this province. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament on the people of this province will be extremely burdensome and grievous; and, from the scarcity of gold and silver, the payment of them absolutely impracticable. That as the profits of the trade of the people of this province ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all the supplies granted to the Crown; and besides, as every individual in this province is as advantageous at least to Great Britain as if he were in Great Britain, as they pay their full proportion of taxes for the support of his Majesty's government here, (which taxes are equal, or more, in proportion to our estates, than those paid by our fellow subjects in Great Britain upon theirs), it is unreasonable for them to be called upon to pay any further part of the charges of government there. That the assemblies of this province have from time to time, whenever requisitions have been made to them by his Majesty, for carrying on military operations, either for the defence of themselves or America in general, most cheerfully and liberally contributed their full proportion of men and money for these services. That though the representatives of the people of this province had equal assurances and reasons with those of the other provinces, to expect a proportional reimbursement of those immense charges they had been at for his Majesty's service in the late war, out of the several parliamentary grants for the use of America; yet they have obtained only their proportion of the first of those grants, and the small sum of L. 285 sterling received since. That, notwithstanding, whenever his Majesty's service shall for the future require the aids of the inhabitants of this province, and they shall be called upon for this purpose in a constitutional way, it shall be their indispensable duty most cheerfully and liberally to grant to his Majesty their proportion, according to their ability, of men and money, for the defence, security, and other public services of the British American colonies. That the restrictions on the trade of the people of this province, together with the late duties and taxes imposed on them by act of parliament, must necessarily greatly lessen the consumption of British manufactures amongst them. That the increase, prosperity and happiness of the people of this province, depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties, and on an affectionate intercourse with Great Britain. That the readiness of the colonies to comply with his Majesty's requisitions, as well as their inability to bear any additional taxes beyond what is laid on them by their respective legislatures, is apparent from several grants of parliament, to reimburse them part of the heavy expences they were at in the late war in America. That it is the right of the British subjects of this province to petition the King, or either house of parliament. Ordered, That these votes be printed and made public, that a just sense of the liberty, and the firm sentiments of loyalty of the representatives of the people of this province, may be known to their constituents, and transmitted to posterity."

[Sidenote] The people become more violent in opposition to government.

Notwithstanding these resolutions, few of the inhabitants of Carolina, even the most sanguine, entertained the smallest hopes of a repeal; but expected, after all their struggles, that they would be obliged to submit. Indeed a very small force in the province at that time would have been sufficient to quell the tumults and insurrections of the people, and enforce obedience to legal authority. But to the imprudence of ministers, the faction in parliament, and the weakness of the civil power in America, the resistance of the colonies may be ascribed. Had the stamp-duty been laid on them without any previous notice of the resolution of parliament, it is not improbable that they would have received it as they had done other acts of the British legislature. Or had the parliament been unanimous in passing the act, and taken proper measures for carrying it into execution, there is little doubt but the colonies would have submitted to it. For however generally the people might be indisposed for admitting of that or any other tax, yet a great majority of them at this time were averse from calling in question the supreme authority of the British parliament. But a small flame, which at first is easily extinguished, when permitted to spread, has often been productive of great conflagrations. The riotous and turbulent party, encouraged by the minority in England, set the feeble power of government in America at defiance. The better sort of people mingled with the rioters, and made use of the arguments of their friends in England to inflame and exasperate them. At length, they not only agreed to adhere to their former illegal combinations for distressing and starving the English manufactures, but also to with-hold from British merchants their just debts. This they imagined would raise such commotions in Britain as could not fail to overturn the ministry, or intimidate the parliament.

[Sidenote] The merchants and manufacturers in England join in petitioning for relief.

In consequence of these disturbances and combinations in America, great evils began to be felt in England, and still greater to be feared. The temporary interruption of commercial intercourse between the mother country and the colonies was very prejudicial to both. That large body of people engaged in preparing, purchasing and sending out goods to the continent were deprived of employment, and consequently of the means of subsistence; than which nothing could be conceived more likely to excite commotions in England. The revenue suffered by the want of the export and import duties. Petitions flowed into parliament from all quarters, not only from the colonies in America, but also from the trading and manufacturing towns in Great Britain, praying for such relief as to that house might seem expedient, at a juncture so alarming. The ministers having neglected to take the proper measures to enforce their law, while the matter was easy and practicable, were now obliged to yield to the rising current, and resign their places. By the interposition of the duke of Cumberland, such a change in the administration took place as promised an alteration of measures with respect to America. Mr. Pitt, who highly disapproved of the scheme for raising a revenue from the colonies, having long been detained by indisposition from parliament, had now so much recovered as to be able to attend the house.—The history of what follows is disgraceful to Great Britain, being entirely composed of lenient concessions in favour of a rising usurpation, and of such shameful weakness and timidity in the ministry, as afterwards rendered the authority of the British parliament in America feeble and contemptible.

[Sidenote] The stamp-act repealed.

No sooner had this change in administration taken place, than all papers and petitions relative to the stamp-act, both from Great Britain and America, were ordered to be laid before the House of Commons. The house resolved itself into a committee, to consider of those papers, about the beginning of the year 1766. Leave was given to bring in a bill for repealing an act of last session of parliament, entitled, An act for granting and applying certain stamp-duties and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards defraying the expenses of protecting and securing the same. When this bill came into parliament a warm debate ensued, and Mr. Pitt with several more members strongly urged the necessity of a repeal. He made a distinction between external and internal taxes, and denied not only the right of parliament to impose the latter on the colonies, but also the justice, equity, policy and expediency of exercising that right. Accordingly, while it was declared that the King, by and with the consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, had, have, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever; the stamp-act was repealed, because it appeared that the continuance of it would be attended with many inconveniences, and might be productive of consequences detrimental to the commercial interest of these kingdoms.

[Sidenote] Which proves fatal to the jurisdiction of the British parliament in America.

This concession in favour of the rising usurpation, instead of proving favourable to the commercial interests of the nation, had rather the contrary effect, and served to set the colonies in some measure free from the legislative authority of Britain. It gave such importance to the licentious party in America, and such superiority over the good and loyal subjects as had a manifest tendency to throw the colonies into a state of anarchy and confusion. It served to promote a doctrine among them subversive of all good government, which plainly implied, that the obedience of subjects was no longer due to the laws of the supreme legislature, than they in their private judgments might think them agreeable to their interest, or the particular notions which they may have framed of a free constitution. While it gave countenance and encouragement to the riotous and turbulent subjects in America, who at that time were neither an opulent nor respectable party in the colonies, it exposed the real friends of government to popular prejudice, and rendered their affections more cool, and their future endeavours in support of government more feeble and ineffectual. For after repealing the stamp-act, without any previous submission on the part of the colonies, how could it be expected that any gentleman would risque his domestic peace, his fortune, or his life, in favour of a distant government ready to desert him, and leave him subjected to all the insults and outrages of future insurgents? How could it be imagined that these colonies, that had set the power of Great Britain at defiance, and obtained what they aimed at by tumults and insurrections, would afterwards remain quiet? As they had opposed the stamp-act, assigning for reason that they were not represented in parliament, was it not evident that the same reason would extend to all other laws which the parliament might enact to bind them in times to come, or had enacted to bind them in times past? The repeal of the stamp-act upon such a principle, and in such circumstances of tumult, unquestionably served to encourage the colonies in disobedience, and to prepare their minds for asserting their independence.

[Sidenote] And gives occasion of triumph to the colonies.

When the news of the repeal of this act reached America, it afforded the colonists, as might have been expected, matter of great triumph. The most extravagant demonstrations of joy, by bonfires, illuminations and ringing of bells, were exhibited in every capital. The Carolineans sent to England for a marble statue of Mr. Pitt, and erected it in the middle of Charlestown, in grateful remembrance of the noble stand he had made in defence of their rights and liberties. Addresses were sent home to the King, acknowledging the wisdom and justice of his government in the repeal of the grievous act, and expressing their happiness that their former harmony and commercial intercourse, so beneficial to both countries, were restored. But soon after it appeared that the power of Great Britain in America had received a fatal blow, such as she would never be able to recover without the severest struggles and boldest exertions. For whatever fair professions of friendship some colonies might make, the strongest of them retained their natural aversion to monarchy, and were well disposed for undermining the civil establishments, and paving the way for their entire subversion. The British government, formerly so much revered, was now deemed oppressive and tyrannical. The little island, they said, had become jealous of their dawning power and splendour, and it behoved every one to watch her conduct with a sharp eye, and carefully guard their civil and religious liberties. Accordingly, for the future, we will find, that the more Great Britain seemed to avoid, the more the colonies seemed to seek for, grounds of quarrel; and the more the former studied to unite, by the ties of common interest, the more the latter strove to dissolve every political and commercial connection. Their minds and affections being alienated from the mother country, they next discovered an uneasiness under the restraints of legal authority. They quarrelled almost with every governor, found fault with all instructions from England which clashed with their leading passions and interests, and made use of every art for weakening the hands of civil government. Their friends in Britain had gloried that they had resisted; and now subjection of every kind was called slavery, and the spirit of disorder and disobedience which had broke out continued and prevailed. At length, even the navigation-act was deemed a yoke, which they wished to shake off, and throw their commerce open to the whole world. Several writers appeared in America in defence of what they were pleased to call their natural rights, who had a lucky talent of seasoning their compositions to the palate of the bulk of the people. Hence the seeds of disaffection which had sprung up in New England spread through the other colonies, insomuch that multitudes became infected with republican principles, and aspired after independence.—But here we shall stop for the present time, and leave the account of their farther struggles towards the accomplishment of this favourite plan to some future opportunity.


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