AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE COLONIES OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA.
In Two Volumes.
By ALEXANDER HEWATT
The author of the following performance presents it to the public, not from any great value he puts upon it, but from an anxious desire of contributing towards a more complete and general acquaintance with the real state of our colonies in America. Provincial affairs have only of late years been made the objects of public notice and attention. There are yet many, both in Great Britain and America, who are unacquainted with the state of some of these settlements, and with their usefulness and importance to a commercial nation. The southern provinces in particular have been hitherto neglected, insomuch that no writer has savoured the world with any tolerable account of them. Therefore it is hoped, that a performance which brings those important, though obscure, colonies into public view, and tends to throw some light upon their situation, will meet with a favourable reception.
As many of the inhabitants of the eastern world will find themselves little interested in the trifling transactions and events here related, such readers will easily discover in what latitude the author wrote, and for whose use his work was principally intended. They will also soon perceive, that this history, like that of Dr. DOUGLAS respecting a northern settlement in America, is only a rough draught, and far from being a finished piece; and the author will frankly and candidly acknowledge it. The case with respect to him is this, to which he must beg the reader's attention. Having been several years a resident at Charlestown in South Carolina, he was at some pains to pick up such original papers and detached manuscripts as he could find, containing accounts of the past transactions of that colony. This he did at first for the sake of private amusement; but after having collected a considerable number of those papers, he resolved to devote such hours as could be spared from more serious and important business, to arrange them, and form a kind of historical account of the rise and progress of that settlement. For the illustration of particular periods, he confesses that he was sometimes obliged to have recourse to very confused materials, and to make use of such glimmering lights as occurred; indeed his means of information, in the peculiar circumstances in which he stood, were often not so good as he could have desired, and even from these he was excluded before he had finished the collection necessary to complete his plan. Besides, while he was employed in arranging these materials, being in a town agitated with popular tumults, military parade, and frequent alarms, his situation was very unfavourable for calm study and recollection.
While the reader attends to these things, and at the same time considers that the author has entered on a new field, where, like the wilderness he describes, there were few beaten tracks, and no certain guides, he will form several excuses for the errors and imperfections of this history. Many long speeches, petitions, addresses, &c. he might no doubt have abridged; but as there were his principal vouchers, for his own sake, he chose to give them entire. Being obliged to travel over the same ground, in order to mark its progress in improvement at different periods, it was no easy matter to avoid repetitions. With respect to language, style and manner of arrangement, the author not being accustomed to write or correct for the press, must crave the indulgence of critics for the many imperfections of this kind which may have escaped his notice. Having endeavoured to render his performance as complete as his circumstances would admit, he hopes the public will treat him with lenity, although it may be far from answering their expectations. In short, if this part of the work shall be deemed useful, and meet with any share of public approbation, the author will be satisfied; and may be induced afterwards to review it, and take some pains to render it not only more accurate and correct, but also more complete, by adding some late events more interesting and important than any here related: but if it shall turn out otherwise, all must acknowledge that he has already bestowed sufficient pains upon a production deemed useless and unprofitable. Sensible therefore of its imperfections, and trusting to the public favour and indulgence, he sends it into the world with that modesty and diffidence becoming every young author on his first public appearance.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME
Most men pleased with the history of their ancestors. A notion early entertained of territories in the west. A project of Columbus for attempting a discovery. The discovery of Columbus. The discovery of John Cabot. The discovery of Sebastian Cabot. The discovery of Americus Vespuccius. The discovery of Cabral. America inhabited. Various conjectures about the first population of America. The natural proprietors of the country. Religious divisions the primary cause of emigrations to the west. Coligni's settlement in Florida. Extirpated by Spaniards. A traffic in negroes. Reflections on it. Virginia settled. Its progress. Disturbances in England promote foreign settlements. New-England peopled by Puritans. Who turn persecutors. Divide into different governments. A colony planted in Maryland. General remarks on colonization.
The first proprietors, and their charter. Of the fundamental constitutions. William Sayle visits Carolina. And is appointed the first governor of it. Settles his colony on Ashley river. Hardship of the first settlers from the climate. And from the Indians. Sir John Yeamans arrives at Carolina. And is appointed governor. Various causes contribute to the settlement of the country. America peopled in an improved age. The first treaty with Spain respecting it. A council of commerce is instituted. A legislature is formed in the colony. Its troubles from the Spaniards. Its domestic troubles and hardships. A war among the Indians seasonable for the settlement. Of Indians in general. The occasion of Europeans being peaceably admitted among them. General remarks on the manners, government, religion, &c. of the Indians. A Dutch colony brought to Carolina. Joseph West made governor. Variances break out in the colony. A trade in Indians encouraged. A general description of the climate. Of the country. Of its soil and lands. Of its storms and natural phenomena. Of its animals. Of its fishes. Of its birds. Of its snakes and vipers. Of its insects. Joseph Morton made governor. Pennsylvania settled. The proprietors forbid the trade in Indians. The toleration of pirates in Carolina. Cause of migration from England. Cause of migration from France. The European animals increase. The manner of obtaining turpentine in Carolina. And of making tar and pitch. A difference with the civil officers. James Colleton made governor. His difference with the house of assembly. Seth Sothell chosen governor. His oppression, and expulsion.
A revolution in England. The French refugees meet with encouragement. Philip Ludwell appointed governor. Harsh treatment of the colonists to the refugees. The manner of obtaining lands. Juries chosen by ballot. Pirates favoured by the colonists. Thomas Smith appointed governor. The planting of rice introduced. Occasions a necessity for employing negroes. Perpetual slavery repugnant to the principles of humanity and Christianity. Foreign colonies encouraged from views of commercial advantage. Indians complain of injustice. The troubles among the settlers continue. John Archdale appointed governor. Archdale's arrival and new regulations. Treats Indians with humanity. The proprietors shamefully neglect agriculture. Archdale returns to England, and leaves Joseph Blake governor. A colony of French in Florida. The French refugees incorporated by law. Depredations of pirates. A hurricane, and other public calamities visit the province. James Moore chosen governor. Lord Granville palatine. King William's charter to the society for propagating the gospel. An established church projected by the Palatine. But disliked by the majority of the people. Governor Moore resolves to get riches. Encourages irregularities at elections. Proposes an expedition against Augustine. Which proven abortive. The first paper currency made. The expedition against the Apalachian Indians. The culture of silk. And of cotton. Rice fixed on by the planters as a staple commodity.
War declared against France. Sir Nathaniel Johnson appointed governor. His instructions. He endeavours to establish the church of England. Pursues violent measures for that purpose. The church of England established by law. The inhabitants of Colleton county remonstrate against it. Lay commissioners appointed. The acts ratified by the Proprietor. The petition of Dissenters to the House of Lords. Resolutions of the House of Lords. Their address to the Queen. The Queen's answer. A project formed for invading Carolina. A Spanish and French invasion. The invader repulsed and defeated by the militia. The union of England and Scotland. Missionaries sent out by the society in England. Lord Craven palatine. Edward Tynte governor. The revenues of the colony. The invasion of Canada. A French colony planted in Louisiana. A colony of Palatines settled. Robert Gibbes governor. Charles Craven governor. An Indian war in North Carolina. The Tuskorora Indians conquered. Bank-bills established. Remarks on paper currency. Trade infested by pirates. Several English statutes adopted.
A design formed for purchasing all charters and proprietary governments. The Yamassees conspire the destruction of the colony. The Yamassee war. The Yamassees defeated and expelled. They take refuge in Florida. Retain a vindictive spirit against the Carolinians. The colonists turn their eyes for protection to the crown. The project revived for purchasing the proprietary colonies. Distresses occasioned by the war. Aggravated by the Proprietors. Robert Daniel is made deputy-governor. Lord Cartaret palatine. The disaffection of the people increases. Robert Johnson appointed governor. Of the depredations of pirates. And their utter extirpation. Troubles from paper currency. Several laws repealed. Which occasions great disaffections. Further troubles from Indians. Complaints against Chief Justice Trott. Laid before the Proprietors. Their answer. And letter to the governor. Who obeys their commands. An invasion threatened from Spain. An association formed against the Proprietors.
The people's encouragement to revolt. Their letter to the governor signifying their design. Which the governor endeavours to defeat. Proceedings of the convention. The perplexity of the Governor and council. The Governor's speech for recalling the people. Their message in answer to it. The Governor's answer. The assembly dissolved, and the proceedings of the people. James Moore proclaimed Governor. The declaration of the Convention. The Governor transmits an account of the whole proceedings to the Proprietors. The Revolutioners appoint new officers, and establish their authority. In vain the Governor attempts to disconcert them. Rhett refuses obedience to his orders. And preserves the confidence of the Proprietors. Further attempts of the Governor to recal the people. The invasion from Spain defeated. The Governor's last attempt to recover his authority. Injurious suspicions with regard to the conduct of the Governor. Francis Nicolson appointed Governor by the regency. General reflections on the whole transactions. Nicolson's arrival occasions uncommon joy. The people recognize King George as their lawful sovereign. The Governor regulates Indian affairs. And promotes religious institutions. The enthusiasm of the family of Dutartre. Their trial and condemnation. Progress of the colony. The adventure of Captain Beale. Arthur Middleton president. A dispute about the boundaries between Carolina and Florida. Colonel Palmer makes reprisals on the Spaniards. Encroachment of the French in Louisiana. A terrible hurricane. And Yellow Fever. The Province purchased for the crown. The Fundamental Constitutions of South Carolina.
THE HISTORY OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE COLONY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
Among the various events recorded in the history of past ages, there are few more interesting and important than the discovery of the western world. By it a large field for adventures, and a new source of power, opulence and grandeur, opened to European nations. To obtain a share of the vast territories in the west became an object of ambition to many of them; but for this purpose, the maritime and commercial states possessed the greatest advantages. Having first discovered the country, with facility they transported people to it, settled colonies there, and in process of time shared among them the extensive wilderness.
[Sidenote] Most men pleased with the history of their ancestors.
All accounts relating to these settlements afford pleasure to curious and ingenious minds, in what quarter of the globe soever they live; but to the posterity of the first adventurers they must be peculiarly acceptable. In the lives of our ancestors we become parties concerned; and when we behold them braving the horrors of the desert, and surmounting every difficulty from a burning climate, a thick forest, and savage neighbours, we admire their courage, and are astonished at their perseverance. We are pleased with every danger they escaped, and wish to see even the most minute events, relating to the rise and progress of their little communities, placed before us in the most full and conspicuous light. The world has not yet been favoured with a particular history of all these colonies: many events respecting some of them lie buried in darkness and oblivion. As we have had an opportunity of acquiring some knowledge of one of the most valuable and flourishing of the British settlements in that quarter, we propose to present the world with a particular, but imperfect, detail of its most memorable and important transactions.
[Sidenote] A notion early entertained of territories in the west.
To pave the way for the execution of this design, it may not be improper to cast our eyes backward on the earliest ages of European discoveries, and take a slight view of the first and most distinguished adventurers to the western world. This will serve to introduce future occurrences, and contribute towards the easier illustration of them. Beyond doubt, a notion was early entertained of territories lying to the westward of Europe and Africa. Some of the Greek historians make mention of an Atlantic island, large in extent, fertile in its soil, and full of rivers. These historians assert, that the Tyrians and Carthaginians discovered it, and sent a colony thither, but afterwards, from maxims of policy, compelled their people to abandon the settlement. Whether this was the largest of the Canary islands, as we may probably suppose, or not, is a matter of little importance with respect to our present purpose: it is enough that such a notion prevailed, and gained so much credit as to be made the grounds of future inquiry and adventure.
With the use of the compass, about the close of the fifteenth century, the great era of naval adventures commenced. Indeed the Tyrian fleet in the service of Solomon had made what was then esteemed long voyages, and a famous Carthaginian captain had sailed round Africa: the Portuguese also were great adventurers by sea, and their discoveries in Africa served to animate men of courage and enterprise to bolder undertakings: but the invention of the compass proved the mariner's best guide, and facilitated the improvements in navigation. Furnished with this new and excellent instructor, the seaman forsook the dangerous shore and launched out into the immense ocean in search of new regions, which, without it, must long have remained unknown. Even such expeditions as proved abortive, furnished observations and journals to succeeding navigators, and every discovery made, gave life and encouragement to brave adventurers.
[Sidenote] A project of Columbus for attempting a discovery.
About this period Christopher Columbus, a native of Genoa, appeared, who was a man of great ingenuity, courage, and abilities, and had acquired better notions of the globe, and greater skill in navigation, than any of his cotemporaries. Imagining there might be territories in the west to balance those in the east he directed all his views to that quarter, and was eagerly bent on a voyage of discovery. He drew a plan for the execution of his project, which, together with a map of the world, he laid before his countrymen, shewing them what grandeur and advantage would accrue to their state, should he prove successful. But the leading men of the republic considered his project as wild and chimerical, and shamefully treated him with neglect. Though mortified at this ill usage, he nevertheless remained inflexible as to his purpose, and therefore determined to visit the different courts of Europe, and offer his service to that sovereign who should give him the greatest encouragement and assistance.
While he resolved to go in person to France, Spain and Portugal, he sent his brother Bartholomew to England; which nation had now seen an end of her bloody civil wars, and begun to encourage trade and navigation. But Bartholomew, in his passage, was unfortunately taken by pirates, and robbed of all he had; and, to augment his distress, was seized with a fever after his arrival, and reduced to great hardships. After his recovery, he spent some time in drawing charts and maps, and selling them, before he was in a condition to appear at court. At length, being introduced to the king, he laid before him his brother's proposals for sailing to the west on a voyage of discovery. King Henry, who was rather a prudent manager of the public treasure, than an encourager of great undertakings, as some historians say, rejected his proposals: but others of equal credit affirm, that the king entered into an agreement with Bartholomew, and sent him to invite his brother to England; and that the nation in general were fond of the project, either from motives of mere curiosity or prospects of commercial advantage.
[Sidenote] A. D. 1492. [Sidenote] The discovery of Columbus.
In the mean time Columbus, after surmounting several discouragements and difficulties, found employment in the service of Spain. Queen Isabella agreed with him on his own terms, and went so far as to sell her jewels in order to furnish him with every thing requisite for his intended expedition. Accordingly he embarked in August 1492, and sailed from Palos on one of the greatest enterprises ever undertaken by man. Steering towards the west, through what was then deemed a boundless ocean, he found abundance of scope for all the arts of navigation of which he was possessed; and, after surmounting numberless difficulties, from a mutinous crew and the length of the voyage, he discovered one of the Bahama islands. Here he landed, and, after falling on his knees and thanking God for his success, he erected the royal standard of Spain in the western world, and returned to Europe.
[Sidenote] 1494. [Sidenote] The discovery of John Cabot.
Upon his arrival in Spain, the fame of this bold adventurer and the success of his voyage, quickly spread through Europe, and excited general inquiry and admiration. John Cabot, a native of Venice, (at that time one of the most flourishing commercial states of the world), resided at Bristol in England, and, having heard of the territories in the west, fitted out a ship at his own expence and steered to that quarter on a voyage of discovery. Directing his course more to the northward, he was equally successful, and, in the year 1494, discovered the island of Newfoundland. He went ashore on another island, which he called St. John's, because discovered on the festival of St. John the Baptist. Here he found inhabitants clothed with skins, who made use of darts, bows and arrows, and had the address to persuade some of them to sail with him to England. On his return to Bristol he was knighted by the king, and reported that the land appeared rocky and barren, but that the sea abounded with fish of various kinds.
King Henry was no sooner made acquainted with the success of John Cabot, than he gave an invitation to mariners of character and ability to enter his service, for the purpose of attempting further discoveries. Cabot declared, he doubted not to make discoveries for him equally honourable and advantageous as those Columbus had made for Ferdinand and Isabella. Accordingly, terms were proposed and agreed on between them. "Henry, in the eleventh year of his reign, gave a commission to John Cabot and his three sons, Sebastian, Lewis, and Sancius, and their heirs, allowing them full power to sail to all countries and seas of the east, west, and north, under English colours, with five ships of such burden and force as they should think proper, and with as many mariners as they should chuse to take on their own cost and charges, to seek out and discover all the isles, countries, regions and provinces of heathens and infidels they could find, which to all Christians before that time had remained unknown." In these letters-patent though it appears that Henry granted them a right to occupy and possess such lands and countries as they should find and conquer, yet he laid them under an obligation to erect the English standard in every place, and reserved to himself and his heirs the dominion, title and jurisdiction of all the towns, castles, isles and lands they should discover; so that whatever acquisitions they should make, they would only occupy them as vassals of the crown of England. And lest they should be inclined to go to some foreign port, he expressly bound them to return to Bristol, and to pay him and his heirs one fifth part of all the capital gains, after the expences of the voyage were deducted: and, for their encouragement, he invested them with full powers to exclude all English subjects, without their particular licence, from visiting and frequenting the places they should discover.
[Sidenote] A. D. 1497. [Sidenote] The discovery of Sebastian Cabot.
Soon after receiving this commission from the king, John Cabot died; and his son Sebastian, who was also a skilful navigator, set sail in 1497, with the express view of discovering a north-west passage to the eastern spice islands. Directing his course by his father's journals to the same point, he proceeded beyond the 67th degree of north latitude; and it is affirmed, that he would have advanced farther, had not his crew turned mutinous and ungovernable, and obliged him to return to the degree of latitude 56. From thence, in a south-west course, he sailed along the coast of the continent, as far as that part which was afterwards called Florida, where he took his departure, and returned to England. Thus England claims the honour of discovering the continent of North America, and by those voyages of John and Sebastian Cabot, all that right and title to this extensive region, founded on prior discovery, must be vested in the crown of England.
[Sidenote] 1498. The discovery of Americus Vespuccius.
In the year following, Americus Vespuccius, a native of Florence, having procured a commission, together with the charts of the celebrated Columbus, sailed to the southern division of the western continent. In this voyage he discovered a large country, and drew a kind of map of those parts of it he visited. He also kept a journal, making several useful remarks on the coast and inhabitants; which, on his return to Europe, were published for general instruction. By this means he had the good fortune to perpetuate his name, by giving it to the whole western world. Posterior writers naturally following the same tract, and using the same names found in the first performance, America by accident became the denomination by which the western continent was distinguished, and probably will be so through all succeeding ages.
[Sidenote] A.D. 1500. The discovery of Cabral.
Not long after this, Don Pedro Alvarez Cabral, admiral of the Portuguese fleet, bound for the East Indies, was driven by a storm on the coast of that country now called Brazil. There he found fine land, inhabited by savages, of which he took possession in name of his king. This discovery he deemed of great consequence, and therefore having put a native or two of the new-found land on board, he sent Gasper Lamidas back to Portugal with the news. He reported, at the same time, the gentle treatment he received from the natives of the country, the excellent soil and beautiful prospects it exhibited; and, upon his report, a settlement was soon after made, which advanced by rapid degrees in riches and population, and soon became the most valuable of the Portuguese possessions.
[Sidenote] America inhabited.
This vast territory of America being now discovered by different nations, in every place they found it inhabited by human creatures; but from what country they derived their origin, or by what means they were conveyed to this distant region, has been the subject of much speculation and inquiry, not only in that, but also in every future period. History claims not the province of peremptorily determining inquires, which can have no better foundation than the probable opinions and uncertain conjectures of ingenious men, and therefore must leave every man to adopt such accounts as appear to him least absurd or liable to exception. Yet, as the subject is curious, it may be amusing to some readers to present them with the different conjectures respecting it, especially such as are supported by late observations and discoveries.
[Sidenote] Various conjectures about the first population of America.
One person fancies that this country was peopled from Britain, and has recourse to a romantic story of a Welsh historian in support of his wild conjecture. This author gives an account of a discovery made in the year 1170, by Maddock, a younger son of Owen Guineth, prince of Wales. That prince, observing his brethren engaged in civil war about the succession to his father's throne, formed a resolution to abandon his country. Having procured a ship, with plenty of necessaries for a long voyage, he embarked, and sailed far to the westward of Ireland, where he discovered a rich and fertile country, in which he resolved to establish a settlement. With this view he returned to Wales, prepared ten sail of ships, and transported a number of both sexes to this western territory. Some men, who have been rather too zealous for proofs in confirmation of this conjecture, have industriously traced, and flattered themselves with having found a striking resemblance between several words in the native language of some Indian nations and the old Welsh tongue.
Other authors are of opinion, that the American tribes are the descendants of the ancient Phenicians and Carthaginians, who early formed settlements on the coast of Barbary and the Canary islands. The Tyrians and Carthaginians, beyond doubt, were a commercial people, and the first who distinguished themselves by their knowledge in navigation. They built ships which carried vast numbers of people. To plant a colony on the west of Africa, Hanno, a Carthaginian captain, embarked in a fleet of sixty ships, containing no fewer than thirty thousand persons, with implements necessary for building and cultivation. While he sailed along the stormy coast of Africa, it is not improbable that some of his ships might be driven out of sight of the land. In this case, the mariners finding the trade winds blowing constantly against them, might necessarily be obliged to bear away before them, and so be wafted over to America. The complexion of the inhabitants of the African islands resembled those Columbus found in the West Indies: The bows, arrows, spears, and lances of both were also nearly similar, only those of the latter were pointed with flints and the bones of fishes: There were also some resemblance in their religious rites and superstitions to those of the ancient Carthaginians, which afford some presumptive evidences that they might have derived their origin from nations where such arms were used, and such superstition prevailed. That America might receive some of its first inhabitants from the best and boldest navigators of the east, is a thing neither impossible nor incredible; and, if this be acknowledged, they had many hundred years to multiply and increase, before the period in which Columbus visited them.
Other authors of considerable merit and ingenuity have contended, that America was first peopled by Norwegians, and the northern countries of Europe, formerly so populous and enterprising. They considered the route by Iceland and Greenland, where the sea is covered with ice and snow, as the most easy and practicable. They affirm, that colonies were planted in Greenland, by adventurers from the north of Europe; that the north-west coast of Greenland is removed at no great distance from America, and that it is not improbable these two territories may, in places yet undiscovered, be contiguous. In support of which conjecture, an affinity between the language of the Esquimaux Indians and that of the Greenlanders has been discovered by modern Danish travellers. It is asserted, that they understand each other in their commercial intercourses. Besides, so great is their likeness in features and manners, in their boats and darts, that late geographers have not scrupled to believe that the lands are united, as the inhabitants of both sides so manifestly appear to be descended from the same nation.
Other writers, with greater probability and reason, suppose, that the western continent must have received its first inhabitants from the north-east parts of Asia and Europe. Some ancient Greek historians say, that the Scythians, from whom the Tartars derived their origin, were all painted from their infancy, and that they flayed the heads of their enemies, and wore their scalps, by way of triumph, at the bridles of their horses. Sophocles speaks of having the head shorn, and of wearing a skull-cap, like the Scythians. These indeed bear a faint resemblance to some customs of the Indian tribes in America; but late discoveries furnish us with the best proofs in favour of this conjecture. Some Russian adventurers, on the sea of Kamschatka, have discovered the coast of America, and reported, that the distance between the two continents is so small and inconsiderable, that a passage between them, at certain seasons, is easy and practicable, and that, though it be yet uncertain, it is by no means improbable that these two great territories are united. It is remarkable, that the aspect, language, and manners of the people, on each side of the narrow channel, are nearly similar; that the arms they use for procuring subsistence are the same; that their boats and method of fishing are exactly alike; that both make use of a wooden instrument for procuring fire by friction; that neither attack their enemies in the open field, but take all advantages of ensnaring them by wiles and stratagem; and that the vanquished, when taken prisoners, are tortured without mercy. These observations indicate a striking resemblance between the Tartars and the savages of America. One thing is certain, that emigrations to the western world by this narrow channel are easier accounted for than by any other route, and it is to be hoped a few years more will remove every difficulty attending this curious and important inquiry.
Notwithstanding all these conjectures, various may have been the ways and means of peopling this large continent. It is not improbable that several nations may have contributed towards supplying it at different times with inhabitants. The Scripture affirms, that all mankind originally sprung from the same root, however now diversified in characters and complexions. In the early ages of the world, as mankind multiplied they dispersed, and occupied a greater extent of country. When thus divided, for the sake of self-preservation and mutual defence, they would naturally unite and form separate states. The eager desire of power and dominion would prove the occasion of differences and quarrels, and the weaker party or state would always be obliged to flee before the stronger. Such differences would necessarily promote distant settlements, and when navigation was introduced and improved, unforeseen accidents, sea-storms, and unfortunate shipwrecks, would contribute to the general dispersion. These, we may naturally suppose, would be the effects of division and war in the earlier ages. Nor would time and higher degrees of civilization prevent such consequences, or prove a sufficient remedy against domestic discord and trouble. Ambition, tyranny, factions and commotions of various kinds, in larger societies, would occasion emigrations, and all the arts of navigation would be employed for the relief and assistance of the distressed. So that if America was found peopled in some measure nigh 5,500 years after the creation, it cannot be deemed a thing more wonderful and unaccountable, than the population of many eastern islands, especially those lying at a considerable distance from the continents. The great Author of nature, who first framed the world, still superintends and governs it; and as all things visible and invisible are instruments in his hand, he can make them all conspire towards promoting the designs of his providence, and has innumerable methods, incomprehensible by us, of diffusing the knowledge of his name, and the glory of his kingdom, throughout the spacious universe.
[Sidenote] The natural proprietors of the country.
Those scattered tribes of savages dispersed by Providence through the American continent, occupied its extensive forests; and it must be confessed, that no inhabitants of Europe, Africa or Asia could produce a better title to their possessions. Their right was founded in nature and Providence: it was the free and liberal gift of heaven to them, which no foreigner could claim any pretension to invade. Their lands they held by the first of all tenures, that of defending them with their lives. However, charters were granted to European intruders, from kings who claimed them on the foot of prior discovery; but neither the sovereigns who granted away those lands, nor the patentees who accepted their grants, and by fraud or force acquired possession, could plead any title to them founded on natural right. Prior discovery might give foreigners a kind of right to lands unoccupied, or possessions relinquished, but neither of these was the case of the American territories. Nations who lived by hunting like the savages in America, required a large extent of territory; and though some had more, others less extensive districts to which they laid claim, yet each tribe knew its particular division, and the whole coast was occupied by them. Indeed, in a general view, the whole earth may be called an inheritance common to mankind; but, according to the laws and customs of particular nations, strangers who encroach on their neighbours property, or attempt to take forcible possession, have no reason to wonder if they obtain such property at the risque of life. In justice and equity, Indian titles were the best ones; and such European emigrants as obtained lands by the permission and consent of the natives, or by fair and honourable purchase, could only be said to have a just right to them.
In the centre of the continent the people, comparatively speaking, were numerous and civilized; the tribes farther removed from it on each side lived more dispersed, and consequently were more rude. Some historians have represented them as naturally ferocious, cruel, treacherous and revengeful; but no man ought to draw conclusions, with respect to their original characters, from their conduct in later times, especially after they have been hostilely invaded, injuriously driven from their natural possessions, cruelly treated, and barbarously butchered by European aggressors, who had no other method of colouring and vindicating their own conduct, but that of blackening the characters of those poor natives. To friends they are benevolent, peaceable, generous and hospitable: to enemies they are the reverse. But we forbear entering minutely into this subject at present, as we shall have occasion afterwards to make several remarks on the character, manners and customs of these tribes. Just views of them may indeed excite compassion; yet, for our instruction, they will exhibit to us a genuine picture of human nature in its rudest and most uncultivated state.
[Sidenote] Religious divisions the primary cause of emigrations to the west.
With the revival of learning in Europe, towards the close of the fifteenth century, a more free and liberal way of thinking, with respect to religion, was introduced and encouraged, than had taken place during many preceding ages. At this period several men of genius and courage appeared, who discovered to the world the gross absurdity of many of the tenets and practices of the Romish church; but were unwilling totally to overturn her established jurisdiction and authority. At length Luther boldly exposed her errors to public view, and the spirit of the age, groaning under the papal yoke, applauded the undertaking. Multitudes, who had long been oppressed, were ripe for a change, and well disposed for favouring the progress of that reformation which he attempted and introduced. By this means great commotions were excited throughout Christendom, and thousands united and entered warmly into designs of asserting their religious liberty. Hence a spirit of emigration arose and men seemed bent on visiting the remotest regions of the earth, rather than submit to spiritual oppression at home.
Instead of improving the discoveries made in America during the reign of his father, Henry the eighth was busily engaged in gratifying the cravings of licentious appetites, or in opposing by writings the progress of the reformation. In his reign Sebastian Cabot, that eminent mariner, finding himself shamefully neglected by the capricious and voluptuous monarch, went over to Spain. There he got employment for several years, and made some new and useful discoveries in America for the Spanish nation. After the young Prince Edward ascended the English throne, the enterprising merchants of Bristol invited Cabot to return to Britain; and he, having a natural fondness for that city in which he was born, the more readily accepted their invitation. King Edward, having heard of the fame of this bold navigator, expressed a desire of seeing him; and accordingly Cabot was sent for and introduced to the king by the Duke of Somerset, at that time Lord protector of England. The king being highly pleased with his conversation, kept him about court, and from him received much instruction, both with respect to foreign parts, and the ports and havens within his own dominions. In all affairs relating to trade and navigation Cabot was consulted, and his judgment and skill procured him general respect. A trade with Russia was projected, and a company of merchants being incorporated for carrying it on, Sebastian Cabot was made the first governor of the company. In 1549, being advanced in years, the king, as a reward for his services, made him Grand Pilot of England, to which office he annexed a pension of L. 166: 13: 4 per annum, which Cabot held during his life, together with the favour of his prince, and the friendship of the trading part of the nation.
When Mary, that cruel and inflexible bigot, succeeded to the throne, domestic troubles and ecclesiastical persecution were so prevalent in England, that commerce sunk into decay, and navigation was despised and neglected. The spirit of murmur and discontent pervaded the country, and multitudes wished for some foreign settlement, as an asylum against domestic trouble and persecution; and, had they been sufficiently acquainted with the western territories, would certainly have emigrated to that quarter. After Elizabeth ascended the throne, the bloody scene of violence closed, and national affairs took a more successful turn. During her reign the reformation advanced to a peaceable establishment in England, and commerce was encouraged and protected.
[Sidenote] Coligni's settlement in Florida.
In France the reformation met with greater obstacles, and was productive of more serious and fatal consequences. It occasioned a civil war between the Protestant and Catholic parties of that kingdom, which raged for several years with great violence. During these domestic troubles, Jasper de Coligni, one of the chief leaders of the Protestant army, formed a project for carrying a colony to America. Forseeing the dangers to which he and his followers would be exposed, should the cause in which they were engaged prove unsuccessful, it is probable he intended this foreign settlement as a retreat. Accordingly, having fitted out two ships, he gave the command of them to Jean Ribaud, and sent him with a colony of Protestants to America. Ribaud landed at the mouth of the river now called Albemarle, which was then considered as part of Florida, where he built a fort, for the security of himself and followers, and called the country Carolina. By this time the Spaniards had incurred the irreconcilable hatred and resentment of the Indian nations by their cruelty and treachery in the heart of the continent. Ribaud found means of acquainting the Indians that he was an enemy to the Spaniards, and of consequence he was the more kindly received by them. He had the address to engage their affections, insomuch that in a little time they became fond of his alliance. But while the flames of war continued in France, Coligni could find no leisure to send supplies to his infant colony, and Ribaud was obliged to abandon the settlement. Great were the extremities to which he was reduced in returning to Europe: one of his crew was killed for subsistence to the rest, who had scarcely done eating him, when an English vessel providentially appeared, took the emaciated crew on board, and carried them to England.
[Sidenote] Extirpated by Spaniard.
Mean while, a peace being patched up between the Papists and Protestants in France, Admiral Coligni, who was seemingly received into favour by that political court, fitted out three ships, loaded them with provisions and arms, and sent them to Carolina. Rene Laudoner to whom he had given the command, embarked with a number of adventurers. On his arrival he found the spot Ribaud had relinquished; but despaired of being able to keep possession of it without regular supplies. When he found his provisions beginning to fail, he had formed resolutions of returning to Europe. While he was making preparations to embark, Ribaud fortunately arrived with seven ships, a large supply of necessaries, and a considerable body of settlers. This animated them to enter with greater vigour on clearing and cultivating lands, and making provision for their future subsistence. The Indians rejoiced at Ribaud's return, and waited on him with their assurances of friendship. But while this French colony were beginning to flatter themselves with some faint hopes of success, Peter Melandez, who pretended a right to the whole territory, came against them with an armed force, killed Ribaud and seven hundred of his men, and compelled the remainder to return to France. M. de Gorgues, a Gascoon, afterwards, to avenge the disaster of his countrymen, dislodged Melandez, but made no attempt toward planting a colony in that quarter. This extensive country remained a wilderness until the reign of Charles the second of England. To keep possession, the Spaniards supported a small garrison at Augustine, on the most barren spot of the whole territory, upon which, together with the discovery of Ponce de Leon, they ever after founded their claim to all the southern parts of North America.
[Sidenote] A traffic in negroes.
About the same time a traffic in the human species, called Negroes, was introduced into England; which is one of the most odious and unnatural branches of trade the sordid and avaricious mind of mortals ever invented. It had indeed been carried on before this period by Genoese traders, who bought a patent from Charles the fifth, containing an exclusive right of carrying Negroes from the Portuguese settlements in Africa, to America and the West Indies; but the English nation had not yet engaged in the iniquitous traffic. As it has since been deeply concerned in it, and as the province, the transactions of which I narrate, owes its improvements almost entirely to this hardy race of labourers, it may not be improper here to give some account of the origin and first inventor of this trade.
William Hawkins, an expert English seaman, having made several voyages to the coast of Guinea, and from thence to Brazil and the West Indies, had acquired considerable knowledge of the countries. At his death he left his journals with his son John Hawkins, in which he described the lands of America and the West Indies to be exceedingly rich and fertile, but utterly neglected for want of hands to improve them. He represented the natives of Europe as unequal to the task in such a scorching climate; but those of Africa as well adapted to undergo the labours requisite. Upon which John Hawkins immediately formed a design of transporting Africans into the western world; and having drawn a plan for the execution of it, he laid it before some of his opulent neighbours for encouragement and approbation. To them it appeared promising and advantageous. A subscription was opened, and speedily filled up, by Sir Lionel Ducket, Sir Thomas Lodge, Sir William Winter and others, who plainly perceived the vast profits that would result from such a trade. Accordingly three ships were fitted out, and manned by an hundred select sailors, whom Hawkins encouraged to go with him by promises of good treatment and great pay. In the year 1562 he set sail for Africa, and in a few weeks arrived at the country now called Sierra Leona, where be began his commerce with the negroes. While he trafficked with them, he found some means of giving them a charming description of the country to which he was bound; the unsuspicious Africans listened to him with apparent joy and satisfaction, and seemed remarkably fond of his European trinkets, food and clothes. He pointed out to them the barrenness of the country, and their naked and wretched condition, and promised, if any of them were weary of their miserable circumstances, and would go along with him, he would carry them to a plentiful land, where they should live happy, and receive an abundant recompense for their labours. He told them, that the country was inhabited by such men as himself and his jovial companions, and assured them of kind usage and great friendship. In short, the negroes were overcome by his flattering promises, and three hundred stout fellows accepted his offer, and consented to embark along with him. Every thing being settled on the most amicable terms between them, Hawkins made preparations for his voyage. But in the night before his departure, his negroes were attacked by a large body from a different quarter; Hawkins, being alarmed with the shrieks and cries of dying persons, ordered his men to the assistance of his slaves, and having surrounded the assailants, carried a number of them on board as prisoners of war. The next day he set sail for Hispaniola with his cargo of human creatures; but, during the passage, treated the prisoners of war in a different manner from his volunteers. Upon his arrival he disposed of his cargo to great advantage; and endeavoured to inculcate on the Spaniards who bought the negroes the same distinction he observed: but they, having purchased all at the same rate, considered them as slaves of the same condition, and consequently treated all alike.
When Hawkins returned to England with pearls, hides, sugar and ginger, which he had received in exchange for his slaves, multitudes flocked after him, to inquire into the nature, and learn the success of the new and extraordinary branch of trade. At first the nation was shocked at the unnatural trade of dealing in human flesh, and bartering the commodities and trinkets of Europe for the rational race of Africa. The queen, though a patroness of commerce, was doubtful of the justice and humanity of this new branch, it appearing to her equally barbarous as uncommon, and therefore sent for Hawkins to inquire into his method of conducting it. Hawkins told her, that he considered it as an act of humanity to carry men from a worse condition to a better, from a state of wild barbarism to another where they might share the blessings of civil society and Christianity; from poverty, nakedness and want to plenty and felicity. He assured her, that in no expedition where he had the command should any Africans be carried away without their own free will and consent except such captives as were taken in war and doomed to death; that he had no scruple about the justice of bringing human creatures from that barren wilderness, to a condition where they might be both happy themselves and beneficial to the world. Indeed it would appear that Hawkins had no idea of perpetual slavery, but expected they would be treated as free servants, after they had by their labours brought their masters an equivalent for the expence of their purchase. Queen Elizabeth seemed satisfied with his account, and dismissed him, by declaring, that while he and his owners acted with humanity and justice, they should have her countenance and protection.
Soon after Hawkins made preparations for a second voyage, in which the Queen offered him a ship of war for his assistance and protection. But he declined accepting her offer, by telling her Majesty, that the profits of the trade would answer for all the risque and expences attending it. In his passage, however, he fell in with the Minion man of war, which accompanied him to the coast of Africa. After his arrival he began as formerly to traffic with the negroes, endeavouring by persuasion and the prospects of reward to induce them to go along with him. But now they were more reserved and jealous of his designs, and as none of their neighbours had returned, they were apprehensive he had killed and eat them. The crew of the man of war observing the Africans backward and suspicious, began to laugh at his gentle and dilatory methods of proceeding, and proposed having immediate recourse to force and compulsion. The sailors belonging to his own fleet joined those of the man of war, and applauded the proposal. But Hawkins considered it as cruel and unjust, and tried by persuasion, promises and threats to prevail on them to desist from a purpose so unwarrantable and barbarous. In vain did he urge his authority and instructions from the Queen: the bold and headstrong sailors would hear of no restraints. Drunkenness and avarice are deaf to the voice of humanity. They pursue their violent design, and, after several unsuccessful attacks, in which many of them lost their lives, the cargo was at length compleated by barbarity and force.
[Sidenote] Reflections on it.
Hence arose that horrid and inhuman practice of dragging Africans into slavery; which has since been so pursued, in defiance of every principle of justice and religion: Though Hawkins was the first Englishman who engaged in this traffic, so repugnant to the spirit of the English constitution; though he made use of such fraudulent arts even in his first method of conducting it, as few men can have the assurance to vindicate; yet, as he was a man of prudence and humanity, he is no ways chargeable with those diabolical abuses which have since crept into this trade. Had men continued to conduct it according to his plan and proposal, and hands been transported by their voluntary consent to labour in burning climates, where Europeans are disqualified by nature for the task; had the Spaniards allowed them the common privileges of servants, after they had cleared the charges they cost them; had negroes been bought from the flames, to which in some countries they were devoted on their falling prisoners of war, and in others sacrificed at the funeral obsequies of the great and powerful among themselves; in short, had they been by this traffic delivered from torture or death, European merchants might have some excuse to plead in its vindication. But, according to the common mode in which it has been conducted, we must confess it a difficult matter to conceive a single argument in its defence. It is contrary to all laws of nature and nations to entice, inveigle and compel such multitudes of human creatures, who never injured us, from their native land, and dispose of them like flocks of sheep and cattle to the highest bidder; and, what compleats the cruelty and injustice of the traffic, to consign them over to ignorance, barbarism, and perpetual slavery. After this, where will insatiable avarice stop? As a free and independent people, they had unquestionably an equal right to make slaves of the inhabitants of Europe. Nature has given the people of the one continent no superiority over those of the other; the advantages of Europeans were the effects only of art and improvement. And though policy has given countenance and sanction to the trade, yet every candid and impartial man must confess, that it is atrocious and unjustifiable in every light in which it can be viewed, and turns merchants into a band of robbers, and trade into atrocious acts of fraud and violence.
[Sidenote] A.D. 1584. Virginia settled.
We shall now return to those naval adventurers, whose object was the establishment of colonies in America. About the year 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh, an able statesman and gallant officer, formed a project for planting an English colony in America. His penetrating genius easily discerned the great advantages which would accrue from a successful foreign settlement. He applied to the Queen, and having obtained from her letters-patent, immediately began to carry into execution what his ingenuity had projected. He fitted out two vessels, and gave the command of them to Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, and sent them to America. They landed at the island Roanock, and took possession of the country in the name of the Queen of England, and Sir Walter called it Virginia, in honour of his virgin Queen. The favourable report made by these two mariners, encouraged Sir Walter to pursue his design with resolution. Great minds are fond of new schemes and grand enterprizes, but it commonly falls to posterity to reap the advantages resulting from them. Sir Richard Grenville, one of Sir Walter's intimate companions, afterwards visited this country, and left one hundred and eight men in it to keep possession of the territory. But they running short of provisions, and having no source of supply, were reduced to great straits. Happily for them, admiral Drake, who had been sent with a fleet to Spanish America in search of treasure, had instructions to touch at Virginia in his return to England. On his arrival he found the infant colony in great distress, and at their request carried them back to England.
Some years afterwards another attempt was made, and fifty men were left to begin a settlement. Whether these suffered death by hunger, or the hands of savages, is uncertain; but, on the arrival of another embarkation, none of the fifty could be found. They observed the word Croatan marked on some trees, from which the conjectured that the colony had moved to a place called by that name, and left this as a mark to conduct their friends to it. But a storm afterwords arising, these adventurers were driven out to sea, and, without finding their unfortunate countrymen, returned to England.
From this period till the year 1606 Virginia was left without an inhabitant, except its original savages. In the mean time, Sir Walter Raleigh, having incurred the displeasure of the king and the jealousy of the court, fell a sacrifice to the malice and power of his enemies. However, some merchants of London and Bristol kept trading to the western world, and bartered beads, knives, hatchets and coarse cloths for the skins and furs which the Indians brought them. The immense profits arising from this commerce encouraged them to enlarge it. For this purpose two companies were incorporated for trading to America and establishing settlements in it, the one was called the Virginia Company, the other the Plymouth Adventurers. King James granted them all the territory which lies between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude. The former of these corporations laid the foundation of James-Town in Virginia, which was the first British settlement in America which proved permanent and successful. So after Sir Walter Raleigh had projected and spent forty thousand pounds, in vain attempts to establish a colony in this quarter, this company reaped the first advantages of his enterprising spirit and great design.
[Sidenote] Its progress.
However, for many years, finall and inconsiderable was the progress of this distant settlement. Their object was rather Indian trade than cultivation, till Lord Delawar was appointed governor of the colony. After his arrival in Virginia, he turned the attention of the settlers to industry and application. From the rivers which abounded with fish, and the woods with game, he taught them the arts of procuring a plentiful supply of provision. He showed them the profitability of chastising those Indian tribes who presumed to harass the colony, pointed out the methods of defence in the woods, and by his example inspired them with revolution and perseverance. At length, having by his zeal and indefatigable labours brought the colony to a growing and hopeful condition, at the risque of his own health, he appointed his son deputy-governor, and returned to England.
By this time several men of opulence and distinction in England had begun to form the most sanguine hopes with respect to this settlement, and united in a plan for carrying inhabitants to it. Sir Thomas Yates and Sir George Somers embarked with 500 men for Virginia: the latter being driven by a storm within sight of the island called Bermuda, formed a design of settling it. This embarkation proved a great acquisition to the colony in Virginia. On their arrival the colonists began to think themselves strong, and therefore, not content with the lands about James-Town, they forced their way up the large rivers, and made bold excursions into the country, in search of the most convenient and fertile spots of ground. The wisdom of their governor was no less conspicuous in the division of property, than in the distribution of justice. His tenderness and indulgences set the springs of industry in motion, which spread through the settlement, and excited a spirit of emulation with respect to the culture of lands. By degrees little spots were cleared and planted, which rewarded the diligent, and the country began to make some feeble advances towards improvement. In proportion as the colony multiplied, the inhabitants spread themselves through the country, yet abundance of land still remained for additional numbers, with which it might in time be augmented.
[Sidenote] Disturbances in England promote foreign settlements.
During the reign of the family of Stuart, a series of weak and oppressive measures, pursued in England, occasioned domestic troubles and discontent to the nation, and contributed greatly to promote American settlements. James the first, surrounded by a crowd of flatterers, began to entertain high ideas of his power and prerogative, to inculcate the extravagant doctrines of divine indefeasible right, passive obedience, and non-resistance, on a people whom he was ill qualified to govern, and who had conceived an irreconcilable aversion from such political principles. The consequence was, he lost by his weakness and pedantry the affections of the nation, yet his reign is memorable for giving rise to many foreign settlements. From him the East-India Company received a new patent, which encouraged the corporation to enlarge their stock, and to fit out a greater number of ships for that trade. In his reign Barbadoes was settled by an association of noblemen, of whom the Earl of Pembroke was the chief. And though it afterwards changed its master, and fell into the hands of the Earl of Carlisle, yet it prospered from its first population, and soon became a rich and flourishing island. St. Christophers may also date its origin from the close of this king's reign. The Plymouth Adventurers, who had carried a colony to New-England, at different times added numbers to it, and, notwithstanding every difficulty, it grew and prospered. Sir William Alexander received a grant of that territory now called Nova Scotia from the same king, but never made and serious attempts towards settling it.
During the succeeding reign several thousands emigrated to the western continent. Both the King and Queen were attached to the Popish religion, which vast multitudes of the nation abhorred. This served to alienate the people's affections not a little from the royal family; but the tyrannical and oppressive regulations established by the rulers of the church, doubled the distress of the people, and served to complete their disaffection to their native country. The Puritans, so called for their taking, or affecting to take, the pure and simple word of God for the rule of their faith and practice, regardless of ecclesiastical authority and institutions, were a numerous party in the nation. These people had begun their struggles for religious liberty, and as they afterwords occasioned such commotions in England, a general sketch of their character, and the rise and progress of their party, may not perhaps be unacceptable.
[Sidenote] New England peopled by Puritans.
From the great aera of the Reformation the English nation had been distracted with religious disputes, and divided into contending parties. One part of the people adhered to the old superstitious system of the Romish church, and strictly observed all the absurd tenets and practices of that establishment. Another party, of which the church of England was composed, seceded several steps from popery, but maintained the hierarchy in its full power and authority. The third sect were Puritans, who had imbibed such high notions of civil and religious liberty, as struck at the foundation of both hierarchy and monarchy. On all occasions they discovered a strong tendency towards a republican form of government and an irreconcileable aversion towards the whole fabric of the Episcopalian church. This party, during the two preceding reigns being chiefly composed of the dregs of the people, were regarded as of little consequence, and treated with supercilious contempt by the administration. But in the reign of King Charles the first they had amazingly increased, and many men of opulence and distinction had joined them, from motives of discontent or ambition, or from a passion for singularity and popular applause. When the religious disputes became warm in the nation, the zeal of this party broke out, and burned with such amazing ardour that it levelled all distinctions. To increase the confusion, Archbishop Laud insisted on conformity, and persecuted all who refused obedience to his mandates with the utmost rigour. But persecution, for the most part, proves destructive to the cause it is intended to promote. The miseries the Puritans endured, and their firmness and perseverance in the midst of sufferings, contributed to give them that merit and importance in the eyes of the nation, which otherwise perhaps they had never attained. Their sober and rigid manner of life, the plainness of dress which they affected, and the strong tendency they shewed towards religion in all their words and actions, had great weight with the vulgar and credulous part, and induced them to entertain high notions of their sanctity, and to venerate them as the peculiar people of God. Their number increased and became formidable. Many men of rank, disgusted at the measures of court, and apprehensive that the liberties of the nation were in danger, turned zealous republicans, and seemed to aim at a total subversion of the constitution, both in church and state. The King, though a well-wisher to religion, hated the principles of the Puritans, and considered them as dangerous and deceitful. Those enthusiasts, on the other hand, were determined to endure the severest persecutions, rather than admit the common prayer, organs, and surplices into their worship, and conform to the popish ceremony of kneeling at the sacrament. In short, the dispute about trifling ceremonies became serious on both sides, and augured no good to the nation. Dr. Laud, observing not only the laity but the clergy also infected with puritanical principles, deprived many of their livings, merely for not conforming to all the ceremonies of the church. During these troubles many fled to New England; and others caused houses to be built and lands cleared for them, with a view of retiring there, should their contention for religious freedom in England prove unsuccessful. In vain did Dr. Laud obtain an order of court to put a stop to emigration. There was not a corner of the globe to which these people would not flee, rather than conform to ceremonies which they thought savoured of popery and idolatry, and endangered their salvation.
To these disturbances New-England owed its population. Enthusiasm has often stimulated men to bold and arduous undertakings, and animated them to perseverance amidst great difficulties. Of this truth the first emigrants to New-England afford us a striking example. They seemed to bid defiance to the hardships to which they were exposed, having what they valued most of any thing in the world, I mean, liberty of conscience. Amidst cold, hunger, toil, disease, and distress of every kind, they comforted themselves with the thoughts of being removed far out of the reach of tyrants, and triumphed in their deliverance from an idolatrous and wicked nation. Neither the hideous gloom of the thick forest, nor the ravages and depredations of savage neighbours, appeared to them so grievous and intolerable as conformity to the that of England, and an implicit obedience to civil authority.
[Sidenote] Who turn persecutors.
It might reasonably have been expected, that those emigrants who made New-England their asylum from what they deemed civil tyranny and ecclesiastical persecution, would have guarded against every degree of oppression and persecution in that form of government they were about to establish among themselves. This, however, was far from being the case. Some of their first laws favour of a degree of persecution and intolerance unknown in the most despotic governments of Europe; and those who fled from persecution became the most bitter persecutors. Those who were found dancing or drunk were ordered to be publicly whipped, in order to deter others from such practices. The custom of wearing long hair was deemed immodest, impious and abominable. All who were guilty of swearing rashly, might purchase an exemption from punishment for a schilling; but those who should transgress the fourth commandment were to be condemned to banishment, and such as should worship images, to death. Children were to be punished with death, for cursing or striking their father or mother. Marriages were to be solemnized by magistrates; and all who denied the coercive authority of the magistrate in religious matters, or the validity of infant baptism, were to be banished. Blasphemy, perjury, adultery, and witchcraft, were all made capital offences. In short, we may challenge the annals of any nation to produce a code of laws more intolerant than that of the first settlers in New-England. Unlimited obedience was enjoined to the authority of the magistrate, by the same men who had refused such submission in England, and fled from their native country because it was demanded. Thus, however incredible it may appear, blind fanatics became public legislators, and those who were unable to endure tyranny in England, became the most insupportable tyrants in America.
This oppressive rigour of their first laws was soon heavily felt by many, but especially by that peaceable society of people called Quakers. Some of this sect, who had been banished on account of their religion, out of mere zeal for making proselytes, returned to the country. They were instantly seized by those oppressors, condemned and hanged, to prevent the clandestine incursions of others. Those who had the misfortune to be taken with convulsions, or any disorder to which vulgar ignorance was a stranger, were accused of witchcraft, and condemned to death. No age nor sex were secure from such suspicions, when ignorance, malice and phrenzy joined in framing accusations, and selecting victims at pleasure. Dreams, apparitions and tortures were all employed as evidences against persons accused, and served to increase the number of horrid executions. The clergy were often accused, and sometimes the judges themselves. The jails were filled with infants, old men and women, the people were distracted with gloomy apprehensions, and the country was stained with innocent blood. At last the popular phrenzy began to subside, and gave way to painful remorse. The eyes of the blinded fanatics were opened, so as to discern their guilt; and a general fast was appointed to implore the pardon and mercy of God for their enormous crimes and horrible delusions.
[Sidenote] Divide into different governments.
This colony, which was planted by oppression, in process of time owed its extension to the same cause, Dissenters, who all claim an equal right to liberty in religion, with respect to private judgment and opinion, were not likely to remain long in harmony and peace among themselves. Though they reprobated the doctrine of uniformity in England, yet they became the most bigoted sticklers for it in their new settlement. The tenets of others, who differed from their mode of worship, were condemned without scruple or hesitation, insomuch that the oppression from which they fled in Britain was like gentle toleration, when compared with that to which they subjected their fellow-refugees. Hence various sectaries arose in their settlement, who claimed the same right to dissent from them, which they formerly did from the church of England. But their claim was rejected, and of consequence a persecution for conscience sake commenced among that people, who had become separatists in defence of universal toleration. However, these sprigs, torn by violence from the old root, had the same resource left; they separated, and planted themselves in a new soil, and spread their branches over the country. Hence different governments took their origin, and different colonies were settled, by persons who were denied religious freedom, and the right of private judgment, in Massachuset's bay.
[Sidenote] A colony planted in Maryland.
From the same source, I mean, a division in England, another colony of catholics took its rise. The king not only lost the affections of his Protestant subjects, but was also obliged to give the Roman catholics up to the rigour of those laws enacted against them in the preceding reigns. Lord Baltimore therefore resolved to leave England, and settle a colony on lands which had been granted to his father a few years before his death. This territory he called Maryland, in honour of the queen, who gave him all the assistance in her power towards forwarding the settlement.
[Sidenote] General remarks on colonization.
From the establishment and progress of these foreign settlements, and the spirit of emigration which prevailed in England, discerning men early foreboded ill consequences to the mother country. They were no strangers to the troubles which the colonies of Greece and Rome occasioned those ancient republics. Such vast territories as America contained, opened a boundless field for the encouragement of emigration, and every addition which these colonies received from Britain was prejudicial to her interest, as it served to weaken her, in proportion as it strengthened them. The riches of every country unquestionably depend on the number of its industrious inhabitants. America could furnish employment for innumerable hands, and emigrations from the mother country would in process of time dry up the sources of her wealth and power. England, though populous, could spare none, without prejudice to herself, but such as had either no employment at home, or no inclination to labour: for all industrious men serve to enrich their country, and whatever they earn by their labour, be it more or less, so much doth the nation profit by them. It is true, a number of idle and indolent people, like voracious drones in the hive, are a burden to every community. Such indeed might be spared for the purpose of colonization, without any detriment to the parent state; but every diligent and honest labourer that emigrates from his native country, helps to depopulate, and of course to impoverish it.
Had England at that time been too populous for its extent, or incapable of employing and maintaining its inhabitants, in that case, her planting foreign colonies might have served the purpose of public utility, and given relief from domestic hardship, just as bees send off their young swarms without injuring the industrious hive. Britain, no doubt, might reap some advantages from her foreign plantations, especially such of them as are situated in a different climate, and produce such commodities as luxury obliged her to purchase from strangers; and while she maintained her supreme jurisdiction over them, she could bind them by laws to continue her customers for taking off her manufactures, and so extend her commerce and navigation. By such policy she might make the wealth of her laborious colonies center in herself, and add greatly to her opulence and power. In every other case, numerous and extensive foreign settlements must prove hurtful, if not troublesome and dangerous: for while they are draining her of her useful inhabitants, they are growing on her ruins; and if they turn not headstrong and ungovernable, they will at least oblige her to keep a much larger army and fleet than otherways she would have any occasion for, and double her expence for their protection.
From Charles the first Sir Robert Heath obtained a grant for an immense territory lying to the southward of Virginia, which is now divided into several distinct provinces, but made no settlement on it. Excepting a small garison the Spaniards supported at Augustine, this country remained a rude wilderness, the habitation of savages and wild beasts, till the restoration. Soon after that important event several leading men of the nation, actuated by a pious and laudable zeal for the propagation of the Gospel, associated, and formed a design of settling it at their own expence. To give an account of the rise and progress of this settlement, especially of that division now called SOUTH CAROLINA, shall be our business in the following pages of this history.
During the period of the usurpation in England, popular anarchy prevailed, and levelled all ranks and distinctions throughout the nation. The lineal heir of the crown being expelled, Oliver Cromwell, that ambitious and crafty leader of the people, seized the reins of government, and ruled England with a rod of iron for several years. The nobles bowed to a fanatic, and the republican part of the constitution preponderated to such a degree, that the other two became as nothing in the balance.
When the restoration took place, to the great joy and happiness of the nation, the nobles and royalists again stood forth, and assumed their former dignity and weight in the government of their country. Domestic peace being re-established on the solid foundation of regal and constitutional authority, England, amidst other national objects, turned her views toward the improvement of commerce, navigation, and her colonies.
Hitherto the extensive territory of North America had been divided into two districts, which were called South and North Virginia. All lands lying towards the river St. Lawrence, from the northern boundaries of the province now called Virginia, belonged to the northern, and all those to the southward, as far as the Gulf of Florida, to the southern district. And though the first European settlement in America was attempted in Florida by the French, yet they were compelled to relinquish that place; and the English, preferring what they esteemed a more favourable climate, had hitherto neglected it.
[Sidenote] The first proprietors and their charter.
After the restoration, England began to recognize her claim to a large territory in the southern district. In the year 1662, Edward Earl of Clarendon, George Duke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkeley, Antony Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkeley, and Sir John Colleton, being apprized of the excellent soil of this country, united and formed a project for planting a colony in it. Upon application to the crown for a charter, Charles granted them all the lands lying between the thirty-first and thirty-sixth degrees of north latitude. Two years afterwards he confirmed this grant, and by a second charter enlarged the boundaries of it, from the 29th degree of north latitude to 36 degrees 30 minutes, and from these points on the sea-coast westward in parallel lines to the Pacific ocean. Of this immense region the king constituted them absolute lords and proprietors, saving to himself, his heirs and successors the sovereign dominion of the country. At the same time he invested them with all the rights, jurisdiction, royalties, privileges and liberties within the bounds of their province, to hold, use and enjoy the same, in as ample a manner as the bishop of Durham did in that county palatine in England. This province they were to hold and possess of the king, his heirs and successors, as of his manor of East Greenwich in Kent, not in capite, or by knight's service, but in free and common soccage.
These absolute lords and proprietors were by their charter empowered to enact, and, under their seal, to publish any laws or constitutions they judged proper and necessary to the public state of the province, with the assent, advice and approbation of the freemen of the colony; to constitute counties, baronies and colonies within the province; to erect courts of judicature, and appoint civil judges, magistrates and officers; to erect forts, castles, cities and towns; to make war; to levy, muster and train men to the use of arms, and, in cases of necessity, to exercise the martial law; to confer titles of honour, only they must be different from those conferred on the people of England; to build harbours, make ports, and enjoy customs and subsidies, which they, with the consent of the freemen, should impose on goods loaded and unloaded; reserving the fourth part of the gold and silver ore found within the province to the crown. By the said charter the king granted them the patronage and avowson of all churches and chapels, to hold and exercise the same rights, powers and privileges as the bishop of Durham did in England: but as it might happen that several of the inhabitants could not in their private opinions conform to the exercise of religion, according to the liturgy and ceremonies of the church of England; the proprietors had power and authority granted them, to allow the inhabitants of the province both indulgences and dispensations, as they in their discretion should think proper and reasonable; and no person, to whom such liberty should be granted, was to be molested, punished, or called in question for any differences in speculative opinions with respect to religion; so that all persons, of what denomination soever, had liberty to enjoy their own judgments and consciences in religious concerns, provided they disturbed not the civil order and peace of the province. And as the assembly of freeholders could not be immediately called, the proprietors had power granted them to make such orders and ordinances as might be necessary to the government of the people and the preservation of peace, and as were not repugnant to the laws and statutes of England. Liberty was given to the king's liege subjects to transport themselves and families to settle the province, only they were to remain immediately subject to the crown of England, and to depend thereon for ever; and were not compellable to answer to any cause or suit in any other part of his majesty's dominions but in England and Wales.
[Sidenote] Of the foundamental constitutions.
Agreeable to the powers with which the proprietors were invested by their charter, they began to frame a system of laws for the government of their colony; in which arduous task they called in the great philosopher John Locke to their assistance. A model of government, consisting of no less than one hundred and twenty different articles, was framed by this learned man, which they agreed to establish, and to the careful observance of which, to bind themselves and their heirs for ever. But there is danger of error, where speculative men of one country attempt to sketch out a plan of government for another, in a different climate and situation. This legislator must be acknowledged to have possessed great abilities and merit; yet his fine-spun system proved in effect useless and impracticable. Several attempts were afterwards made to amend these fundamental constitutions, but all to little purpose; the inhabitants, sensible of their impropriety, and how little they were applicable to their circumstances, neither by themselves, nor by their representatives in assembly, ever gave their assent to them as a body of laws, and therefore they obtained not the force of fundamental and unalterable laws in the colony. What regulations the people found applicable and useful, they adopted at the request of their governors; but observed them on account of their own propriety and necessity, rather than as a system of laws imposed on them by British legislators.
As the proprietors were so fond of these constitutions, and expressed so much zeal for their establishment, it may not be improper to give a short and imperfect view of them, especially such as were allowed to take place in the government of the colony. The eldest of the eight proprietors was always to be Palatine, and at his decease was to be succeeded by the eldest of the seven survivors. This palatine was to sit as president of the palatine's court, of which he and three more of the proprietors made a quorum, and had the management and execution of all the powers of their charter. This palatine's court was to stand in room of the king, and give their assent or dissent to all laws made by the legislature of the colony. The palatine was to have power to nominate and appoint the governor, who, after obtaining the royal approbation, became his representative in Carolina. Each of the seven proprietors was to have the privilege of appointing a deputy to sit as his representative in parliament, and to act agreeable to his instructions. Besides a governor, two other branches, somewhat similar to the old Saxon constitution, were to be established, an upper and lower house of assembly; which three branches were to be called a Parliament, and to constitute the legislature of the country. The parliament was to be chosen every two years. No act of the legislature was to have any force unless ratified in open parliament during the same session, and even then to continue no longer in force than the next biennial parliament, unless in the mean time it be ratified by the hands and seals of the palatine and three proprietors. The upper house was to consist of the seven deputies, seven of the oldest landgraves and cassiques, and seven chosen by the assembly. As in the other provinces the lower house was to be composed of the representatives from the different counties and towns. Several officers were also to be appointed, such as an admiral, a secretary, a chief justice, a surveyor, a treasurer, a marshal, and register; and besides these, each county was to have a sheriff and four justices of the peace. Three classes of nobility were to be established, called Barons, Cassiques, and Landgraves; the first to possess twelve, the second twenty-four, and the third forty-eight thousand acres of land, and their possessions were to be unalienable. Military officers were also to be nominated, and all inhabitants from sixteen to sixty years of age, as in the times of feudal government, when summoned by the governor and grand council, were to appear under arms, and, in time of war, to take the field.
With respect to religion, three terms of communion were fixed: First, To believe that there is a God; Secondly, That he is to be worshipped; And, thirdly, That it is lawful and the duty of every man when called upon by those in authority, to bear witness to the truth. Without acknowledging which, no man was to be permitted to be a freeman, or to have any estate or habitation in Carolina. But persecution for observing different modes and ways of worship, was expressly forbid, and every man was to be left full liberty of conscience, and might worship God in that manner which he in his private judgment thought most conformable to the divine will and revealed word. This was the opinion of Mr. Locke with respect to religious matters. He chose the word of God for his rule of life, and was used to say, "That, at the day of judgment, it would not be asked whether he was a follower of Luther or Calvin; but whether he embraced the truth in the love of it."
[Sidenote] William Sayle visits Carolina.
Notwithstanding these preparations, several years elapsed before the proprietors of Carolina made any serious efforts towards its settlement. In 1667, they fitted out a ship, gave the command of it to Captain William Sayle, and sent him out to bring them some account of the coast. In his passage Captain Sayle was driven by a storm among the Bahama islands, which accident he improved to the purpose of acquiring some knowledge of them; particularly the island of Providence, which he judged might be of service to the intended settlement of Carolina; for, in case of an invasion from the Spaniards, this island, fortified, might be made to serve either as a check to the progress of their arms, or a useful retreat to unfortunate colonists. Leaving Providence, he sailed along the coast of Carolina, where he observed several large navigable rivers emptying themselves into the ocean, and a flat country covered with woods. He attempted to go ashore in his boat, but observing some savages on the banks of the rivers, he was obliged to drop his design; and, after having explored the coast and the mouth of the rivers, he took his departure and resumed to England.
[Sidenote] And is appointed the first governor of it.
His report to his employers, as might naturally be expected, was favourable. He praised their possessions, and encouraged them to engage with vigour in the execution of their project. His observations respecting the Bahama islands induced them to apply to the king for a grant of them. Charles bestowed on them by patent all those islands lying between the 22d and 27th degrees of north latitude. Nothing then remained but to make preparations for sending a colony to Carolina. Two ships were procured, on board of which a number of adventurers embarked, with provisions, arms, and utensils requisite for building and cultivation. William Sayle, who had visited the country, was appointed the first governor of it, and received a commission, bearing date July 26, 1669. The expences of this first embarkation amounted to twelve thousand pounds, which vigorous effort was a proof that the proprietor entertained no small hopes with respect to their palatinate. The number of men, however, must have been inconsiderable, and no ways adequate to the undertaking, especially when we consider the multitude of savages that ranged through that extensive wilderness.
[Sidenote] Settles his colony on Ashley river.
In what place Governor Sayle first landed is uncertain; but he was dissatisfied with his first situation, and, moving to the southward, took possession of a neck of land between Ashley and Cooper rivers. The earliest instructions we have seen upon record were directed to the governor and council of Ashley river, in which spot the first settlement was made that proved permanent and successful. This place, however, was more eligible for the convenience of navigation than for the richness of its soil. But to struggle amidst a complication of difficulties and dangers was the lot of such adventurers; to surmount which, at this early period, no small degree of fortitude, patience and perseverance must have been requisite.
[Sidenote] Hardship of the first settlers, from the climate.
New settlers in all countries and climates are subject to many hardships, especially such as are in low and indigent circumstances; but those of the first settlers of Carolina must have equalled, if not surpassed, every thing of the kind to which men in any age have been exposed. To fell the trees of the thick forest, and build habitations for themselves, would probably be their first employment, before they began to clear their spots of ground for raising the necessaries of life. In such a low country, and warm climate, even this task must have been a considerable burden. But Carolina, like other level countries overflowed with water, is productive of many disorders, such as putrid fevers, agues, dysenteries, and the like; and to fix habitations on such places where the exhalations from stagnated waters and marshy swamps poisoned the air, must have rendered them extremely unwholesome. During the summer months the climate is so sultry, that no European, without hazard, can endure the fatigues of labouring in the open air: for the most part, the weather during this season is very clear and serene, excepting when a thunder-storm happens, which cools the air, suddenly stops perspiration, and becomes exceedingly dangerous to labourers of little precaution. Besides, the violent heat continues through the night, and denies the weary workman the natural refreshment of sleep. The autumn introduces cool evenings and mornings, while the noon-day is intolerably warm; which change, together with the thick fogs that commonly fall at this season, rendered it the most unhealthy division of the year. In winter, though the degree of cold is not so great as in the more northern climates of America, yet it is severely felt by the human body, exhausted and relaxed with the summer heat; and when the wind shifts suddenly from any quarter to the north-west or north, it blows extremely sharp and piercing, brings along with it sometimes frost and snow, and renders the warmest clothing requisite. The spring is the most temperate and delightful season of the year: it begins early, and diffuses its enlivening influence over the fields and forests. Experience had not yet taught the young colonists the methods either of improving the advantages, or guarding against the disadvantages of the climate, and therefore it is no wonder that they found themselves involved at this period in a complication of hardships.
[Sidenote] And from the Indians.
To enhance their distress, they were surrounded with tribes of warlike savages, who viewed them with a jealous eye, and were by no means pleased at the encroachments made on their natural possessions. The tribes called Stonoes and Westoes were particularly troublesome. The colonists, indeed, were furnished with arms and ammunition from the storehouse of the proprietors, yet as they lived in the midst of perpetual alarms, their condition must have been deplorable. Nor did the musket give those strangers to the woods such an advantage over the bow and arrow in the hands of the Indians, as some people may be apt to imagine. The savage, quick-sighted, and accustomed to perpetual watchfulness, springs from his den behind a bush, and surprizes his enemy with the pointed arrow before he is aware of danger. He ranges through the trackless forest like the beasts of prey, and safely sleeps under the same canopy with the wolf and bear. His vengeance is concealed, and sends the tidings in the fatal blow. The first settlers were obliged to stand in a continual posture of defence; and as they could not be supposed to understand the political methods of managing their barbarous neighbors, they must have been subjected to all the hardships arising from their ignorance and dangerous condition.
While one party was employed in raising their little habitations, another was always kept under arms, to watch the motions of these Indians. The governor shared those hardships along with his fellow adventurers, and by his example animated and encouraged them to perseverance. The only fresh provisions they could procure were fish from the river, and what game they could kill with their gun. While the settlers were struggling under the difficulties inseparable from the first state of colonization, the ship Blessing, belonging to the proprietors, commanded by Captain Matthias Halstead, happily arrived, and brought them a seasonable supply of necessaries. At the same time deputies from the other proprietors came over, to assist the governor in the discharge of the duties of his office. They brought with them twenty-three articles of instruction, called Temporary Agrarian Laws, intended for the equitable division of lands among the people; but whatever difficulties or inconveniencies might occur in the execution of them, the governor had directions to represent them to the proprietors, who had reserved to themselves the sole power of making alterations in them. At the same time, the governor received a plan of a magnificent town, to be laid out on the neck of land between the two rivers, to be called Charlestown, in honour of the king. Captain Halstead was employed, during his stay, in sounding the rivers, for the benefit of navigation, which were found sufficiently deep, and excellently calculated for the purposes of trade.
[Sidenote] Sir John Yeamans arrives at Carolina.
About this time the Duke of Albemarle, who was the first palatine, died, and was succeeded by the Earl of Craven, as eldest proprietor. John Locke, Sir John Yeamans, and James Carteret, were created landgraves, to make part of the nobility required by the fundamental constitutions. Sir John was the eldest son and heir of Robert Yeamans alderman of Bristol, who was imprisoned and executed in 1643, by order of Nathaniel Fienes, son to Lord Say, who had been appointed governor of Bristol by the parliament. His son, Sir John, was afterwards advanced to the dignity of baronet by King Charles the second in 1664, as a reward for the steady loyalty and heavy sufferings of his father. But as the violence of the preceding times, which had deprived Sir John of his father, had also injured him in his private fortune, he embarked for the island of Barbadoes, at that time in a flourishing condition, to hide his poverty from his acquaintance in England, and endeavour to acquire a fortune suitable to his dignity. When Carolina was settled, having received a grant of a large tract of land from the proprietors, he, with several respectable followers, retired to that infant colony, to forward by his presence and example, the interest of his generous and beloved friends, from whom he had received great encouragement and assistance.
[Sidenote] A.D. 1671. [Sidenote] And is appointed governor.
Soon after his arrival in Carolina, Governor Sayle fell a sacrifice to the hardships of the climate. Upon his death the council met, and Sir John claimed the office of vice-palatine in consequence of his rank, being the only landgrave resident in the colony. But the council, who were empowered to elect a governor in such a case, chose to prefer Joseph West, until a special appointment arrived from England. West was a popular man, much esteemed among the colonists for his activity, courage, and prudence. However, he did not long remain in office, for the first vessel that arrived from England brought a commission to Sir John Yeamans, constituting him governor of the colony.