The Carolina coast.—From the James River region to the Spanish settlements in Florida, stretched a vast territory, which, with the single exception of a settlement on the Chowan River, was unoccupied by white men when Charles II came to the throne. After Raleigh's ill-starred venture it had received little attention until 1629, when Sir Robert Heath obtained a patent to lands between 31° and 36° north latitude, but he did nothing to improve the territory. The coasts were occasionally visited by mariners, but there is no definite knowledge of any settlement until 1653, when colonists from Virginia appear to have started a settlement at Albemarle on the Chowan River. About 1660 some New Englanders inspected the Cape Fear River mouth but departed soon afterward.
The charters.—In 1660 Sir John Colleton, a prominent resident of Barbados, went to England where he became a member of the Council for Foreign Plantations. He soon interested Anthony Ashley Cooper, later known as Lord Ashley, in the Carolinas. In 1663 a charter was granted to eight proprietors, Cooper, Clarendon, Craven, Albemarle, Carteret, Lord Berkeley, Colleton, and Sir William Berkeley. The territory granted extended from the thirty-sixth to the thirty-first parallel and from sea to sea. Over this region the proprietors were given practically the same rights as Baltimore possessed in Maryland. In 1665 a second patent was granted to the proprietors, extending the boundaries to 36° 30' on the north and to 29° on the south.
The fundamental constitutions.—The philosopher, John Locke, drew up a constitution for the province. It provided for a high official called the palatine, and minor officials designated as admiral, chamberlain, chancellor, constable chief justice, steward, and treasurer. The province was to be divided into counties, and each county into seigniories, baronies, and precincts. On these divisions were to be based the ranks of the nobility to be designated as land-graves, caciques, and lords of manors. An elaborate system of courts was provided; also a grand council and a parliament. This archaic feudal document is of interest mainly as a study in the political philosophy of the time, but it was of little real importance as it was totally unsuited to the needs of a frontier community. It was never put in force except in certain minor particulars, the settlers themselves soon solving their problems of government in their own way.
Beginnings of settlement.—In 1663-1664 an expedition from Barbados examined the Carolina coast, and in 1665 Sir John Yeamans conducted a group of settlers to the mouth of Cape Fear River. Yeamans soon returned to Barbados and the settlers, left to their own devices, in 1667 abandoned the settlement, most of them going to Albemarle, Virginia, and Boston. In 1669 vessels carrying ninety-two colonists sailed from England to Barbados, where Sir John Yeamans, who had been appointed governor, joined them. They then proceeded to the Bermudas, where Yeamans handed over the authority to William Sayle and abandoned the expedition. The colonists under Sayle then went to Port Royal, but finally settled on the Ashley River, where they laid out old Charles Town (1670). Political strife soon developed, owing mainly to the incompetence of the aged executive. In 1671 he died and Joseph West was chosen governor by the people.
The Southern Colonies, 1607-1735. (From Johnston, Pioneers of the Old South, in the Series, "The Chronicles of America," Yale University Press).
Plans of the proprietors.—In 1670 the proprietors obtained a grant of the Bahamas and planned to build up trade between the island and mainland settlements. They also planned to improve the Charles Town settlement and in 1671 secured settlers from Barbados. Yeamans came over and claimed the governorship, but West succeeded in keeping the office for several months. In 1672 Yeamans was again appointed governor, but he managed things so badly that in 1674 West was reappointed and remained governor for eight years.
Development of the Charles Town region.—Colonists came in considerable numbers; in 1672 there were about four hundred people in the colony, and by 1685 the population had increased to about twenty-five hundred. Among the immigrants were a hundred French Protestants, and a colony of Scots who settled at Port Royal in 1683. Other colonists came from Barbados and many from western England. In 1680 the seat of government was moved from old Charles Town to the junction of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. After 1680 settlements began to expand into the back country. This soon brought on the inevitable Indian war, which continued intermittently for three years. In 1685 the Spaniards raided the settlements, burning many houses, and the following year destroyed the Scotch settlement at Port Royal.
Unrest at Charleston.—During West's administration the colony was not greatly disturbed by political difficulties, the proprietors making little attempt to enforce the Locke constitution. The colony was governed by a popularly elected "parliament," which chose a council of five men. The chief executive was the governor commissioned by the proprietors. From 1682 to 1689 proprietary interference increased, bringing the colony to the verge of rebellion. The colonial parliament had steadily refused to confirm the constitution. During 1682 it was revised by the proprietors, more power being placed in the hands of the people, but still the colonists refused to confirm it. This irritated the proprietors, who retaliated by introducing a new form of land tenure, which required the colonists to pay a cash quit-rent. When James II came to the throne, Governor Morton demanded that they swear allegiance to the king and accept the constitution, whereupon twelve members of the parliament refused and were excluded. The colonists also took with ill grace the attempt to collect the customs. In 1688 the governor and council found themselves at complete loggerheads with parliament, and legislation stopped. James Colleton, the governor, proclaimed martial law. This led to an open rebellion, and in 1691 Colleton was expelled, but the proprietary power was soon restored.
The Albemarle colony.—During these troublous times the Albemarle settlement was slowly developing. The colony was mainly recruited from Virginia, but there was also a considerable influx of Quakers. In 1682 the Albemarle settlement contained about twenty-five hundred inhabitants. When an attempt was made in 1677 to collect the customs and to shut off the New England trade, about a hundred colonists led by John Culpeper rebelled and imprisoned Miller, who was the collector of customs and acting governor. They also arrested the president of the assembly and all but one of the deputies. The proprietors removed Miller from office and appointed Seth Sothell governor, but the people soon drove him from the colony. The turbulence did not quiet down until the appointment of Governor Ludwell, who from 1691 resided at Charleston, Albemarle being governed henceforth by a deputy.
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