Part 3 out of 3
free schools, though they were never many nor adequate. But the first
Assembly after the Restoration had made provision for a college. Land was
to have been purchased and the building completed as speedily as might be.
The intent had been good, but nothing more had been done.
There was in Virginia, sent as Commissioner of the Established Church, a
Scotch ecclesiastic, Dr. James Blair. In virtue of his office he had a seat
in, the Council, and his integrity and force soon made him a leader in the
colony. A college in Virginia became Blair's dream. He was supported by
Virginia planters with sons to educate -- daughters' education being purely a
domestic affair. Before long Blair had raised in promised subscriptions
what was for the time a large sum. With this for a nucleus he sailed to
England and there collected more. Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and
Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester, helped him much. The King and Queen
inclined a favorable ear, and, though he met with opposition in certain
quarters, Blair at last obtained his charter. There was to be built in
Virginia and to be sustained by taxation a great school, "a seminary of
ministers of the gospel where youths may be piously educated in good
letters and manners; a certain place of universal study, or perpetual
college of divinity, philosophy, languages and other good arts and
sciences." Blair sailed back to Virginia with the charter of the college,
some money, a plan for the main building drawn by Christopher Wren, and for
himself the office of President.
The Assembly, for the benefit of the college, taxed raw and tanned hides,
dressed buckskin, skins of doe and elk, muskrat and raccoon. The
construction of the new seat of learning was begun at Williamsburg. When it
was completed and opened to students, it was named William and Mary. Its
name and record shine fair in old Virginia. Colonial worthies in goodly
number were educated at William and Mary, as were later revolutionary
soldiers and statesmen, and men of name and fame in the United States.
Three American Presidents -- Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler -- were trained
there, as well as Marshall, the Chief Justice, four signers of the
Declaration of Independence, and many another man of mark.
The seventeenth century is about to pass. France and England are at war.
The colonial air vibrates with the struggle. There is to be a brief lull
after 1697, but the conflict will soon be resumed. The more northerly
colonies, the nearer to New France, feel the stronger pulsation, but
Virginia, too, is shaken. England and France alike play for the support of
the red man. All the western side of America lies open to incursion from
that pressed-back Indian sea of unknown extent and volume. Up and down, the
people, who have had no part in making that European war, are sensitive to
the menace of its dangers. In Virginia they build blockhouses and they keep
rangers on guard far up the great rivers.
All the world is changing, and the changes are fraught with significance
for America. Feudalism has passed; scholasticism has gone; politics,
commerce, philosophy, religion, science, invention, music, art, and
literature are rapidly altering. In England William and Mary pass away.
Queen Anne begins her reign of twelve years. Then, in 1714, enters the
House of Hanover with George the First. It is the day of Newton and Locke
and Berkeley, of Hume, of Swift, Addison, Steele, Pope, Prior, and Defoe.
The great romantic sixteenth century, Elizabeth's spacious time, is gone.
The deep and narrow, the intense, religious, individualistic seventeenth
century is gone. The eighteenth century, immediate parent of the
nineteenth, grandparent of the twentieth, occupies the stage.
In the year 1704, just over a decade since Dr. Blair had obtained the
charter for his College, the erratic and able Governor of Virginia, Francis
Nicholson, was recalled. For all that he was a wild talker, he had on the
whole done well for Virginia. He was, as far as is known, the first person
actually to propose a federation or union of all those English-speaking
political divisions, royal provinces, dominions, palatinates, or what not,
that had been hewed away from the vast original Virginia. He did what he
could to forward the movement for education and the fortunes of the William
and Mary College. But he is quoted as having on one occasion informed the
body of the people that "the gentlemen imposed upon them." Again, he is
said to have remarked of the servant population that they had all been
kidnapped and had a lawful action against their masters. "Sir," he stated
to President Blair, who would have given him advice from the Bishop of
London, "Sir, I know how to govern Virginia and Maryland better than all
the bishops in England! If I had not hampered them in Maryland and kept
them under, I should never have been able to govern them!" To which Blair
had to say, "Sir, if I know anything of Virginia, they are a good-natured,
tractable people as any in the world, and you may do anything with them by
way of civility, but you will never be able to manage them in that way you
speak of, by hampering and keeping them under!"*
* William and Mary College Quarterly, vol. I, p. 66.
About this time arrived Claude de Richebourg with a number of Huguenots who
settled above the Falls. First and last, Virginia received many of this
good French strain. The Old Dominion had now a population of over eighty
thousand persons -- whites, Indians in no great number, and negroes. The red
men are mere scattered dwellers in the land east of the mountains. There
are Indian villages, but they are far apart. Save upon the frontier fringe,
the Indian attacks no more. But the African is here to stay.
"The Negroes live in small Cottages called Quarters . . . under the
direction of an Overseer or Bailiff; who takes care that they tend such
Land as the Owner allots and orders, upon which they raise Hogs and Cattle
and plant Indian Corn, and Tobacco for the Use of their Master .... The
Negroes are very numerous, some Gentlemen having Hundreds of them of all
Sorts, to whom they bring great Profitt; for the Sake of which they are
obliged to keep them well, and not over-work, starve or famish them,
besides other Inducements to favour them; which is done in a great Degree,
to such especially that are laborious, careful and honest; tho' indeed some
Masters, careless of their own Interest or deputation, are too cruel and
negligent. The Negroes are not only encreased by fresh supplies from Africa
and the West India Islands, but also are very prolific among themselves;
and they that are born here talk good English and affect our Language,
Habits and Customs . . . . Their work or Chimerical (hard Slavery) is not
very laborious; their greatest Hardship consisting in that they and their
Posterity are not at their own Liberty or Disposal, but are the Property of
their Owners; and when they are free they know not how to provide so well
for themselves generally; neither did they live so plentifully nor (many of
them) so easily in their own Country where they are made Slaves to one
another, or taken Captive by their Ennemies."*
* It is an English clergyman, the Reverend Hugh Jones, who is writing ("The
Present State of Virginia") in the year 1724. He writes and never sees
that, though every amelioration be true, yet there is here old Inequity.
The white Virginians lived both after the fashion of England and after
fashions made by their New World environment. They are said to have been in
general a handsome folk, tall, well-formed, and with a ready and courteous
manner. They were great lovers of riding, and of all country life, and few
folk in the world might overpass them in hospitality. They were genial,
they liked a good laugh, and they danced to good music. They had by nature
an excellent understanding. Yet, thinks at least the Reverend Hugh Jones,
they "are generally diverted by Business or Inclination from profound
Study, and prying into the Depth of Things . . . .They are more inclinable
to read Men by Business and Conversation, than to dive into Books . . .
they are apt to learn, yet they are fond of and will follow their own Ways,
Humours and Notions, being not easily brought to new Projects and Schemes."
It was as Governor of these people that, in succession to Nicholson, Edward
Nott came to Virginia, the deputy of my Lord Orkney. Nott died soon
afterward, and in 1710 Orkney sent to Virginia in his stead Alexander
Spotswood. This man stands in Virginia history a manly, honorable, popular
figure. Of Scotch parentage, born in Morocco, soldier under Marlborough,
wounded at Blenheim, he was yet in his thirties when he sailed across the
Atlantic to the river James. Virginia liked him, and he liked Virginia. A
man of energy and vision, he first made himself at home with all, and then
after his own impulses and upon his own lines went about to develop and to
better the colony. He had his projects and his hobbies, mostly useful, and
many sounding with a strong modern tone. Now and again he quarreled with
the Assembly, and he made it many a cutting speech. But it, too, and all
Virginia and the world were growing modern. Issues were disengaging
themselves and were becoming distinct. In these early years of the
eighteenth century, Whig and Tory in England drew sharply over against each
other. In Virginia, too, as in Maryland, the Carolinas, and all the rest of
England-in-America, parties were emerging. The Virginian flair for
political life was thus early in evidence. To the careless eye the colony
might seem overwhelmingly for King and Church. "If New England be called a
Receptacle of Dissenters, and an Amsterdam of Religion, Pennsylvania the
Nursery of Quakers; Maryland the Retirement of Roman Catholicks, North
Carolina the Refuge of Runaways and South Carolina the Delight of
Buccaneers and Pyrates, Virginia may be justly esteemed the happy Retreat
of true Britons and true Churchmen for the most Part." This "for the most
part" paints the situation, for there existed an opposition, a minority,
which might grow to balance, and overbalance. In the meantime the House of
Burgesses at Williamsburg provided a School for Discussion.
At the time when Parson Jones with his shrewd eyes was observing society in
the Old Dominion, Williamsburg was still a small village, even though it
was the capital. Towns indeed, in any true sense, were nowhere to be found
in Virginia. Yet Williamsburg had a certain distinction. Within it there
arose, beneath and between old forest trees, the college, an admirable
church -- Bruton Church -- the capitol, the Governor's house or "palace," and
many very tolerable dwelling-houses of frame and brick. There were also
taverns, a marketplace, a bowling-green, an arsenal, and presently a
playhouse. The capitol at Williamsburg was a commodious one, able to house
most of the machinery of state. Here were the Council Chamber, "where the
Governor and Council sit in very great state, in imitation of the King and
Council, or the Lord Chancellor and House of Lords," and the great room of
the House of Burgesses, "not unlike the House of Commons." Here, at the
capitol, met the General Courts in April and October, the Governor and
Council acting as judges. There were also Oyer and Terminer and Admiralty
Courts. There were offices and committee rooms, and on the cupola a great
clock, and near the capitol was "a strong, sweet Prison for Criminals; and
on the other side of an open Court another for Debtors . . . but such
Prisoners are very rare, the Creditors being generally very merciful . . . . At the Capitol, at publick Times,
may be seen a great Number of handsome,
well-dressed, compleat Gentlemen. And at the Governor's House upon
Birth-Nights, and at Balls and Assemblies, I have seen as fine an
Appearance, as good Diversion, and as splendid Entertainments, in Governor
Spotswood's Time, as I have seen anywhere else."
It is a far cry from the Susan Constant, the Goodspeed, and the Discovery,
from those first booths at Jamestown, from the Starving Time, from
Christopher Newport and Edward-Maria Wingfield and Captain John Smith to
these days of Governor Spotswood. And yet, considering the changes still to
come, a century seems but a little time and the far cry not so very far.
Though the Virginians were in the mass country folk, yet villages or
hamlets arose, clusters of houses pressing about the Court House of each
county. There were now in the colony over a score of settled counties. The
westernmost of these, the frontier counties, were so huge that they ran at
least to the mountains, and, for all one knew to the contrary, presumably
beyond. But "beyond" was a mysterious word of unknown content, for no
Virginian of that day had gone beyond. All the way from Canada into South
Carolina and the Florida of that time stretched the mighty system of the
Appalachians, fifteen hundred miles in length and three hundred in breadth.
Here was a barrier long and thick, with ridge after ridge of lifted and
forested earth, with knife-blade vales between, and only here and there a
break away and an encompassed treasure of broad and fertile valley. The
Appalachians made a true Chinese Wall, shutting all England-in-America, in
those early days, out from the vast inland plateau of the continent,
keeping upon the seaboard all England-in-America, from the north to the
south. To Virginia these were the mysterious mountains just beyond which,
at first, were held to be the South Sea and Cathay. Now, men's knowledge
being larger by a hundred years, it was known that the South Sea could not
be so near. The French from Canada, going by way of the St. Lawrence and
the Great Lakes, had penetrated very far beyond and had found not the South
Sea but a mighty river flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. What was the real
nature of this world which had been found to lie over the mountains? More
and more Virginians were inclined to find out, foreseeing that they would
need room for their growing population. Continuously came in folk from the
Old Country, and continuously Virginians were born. Maryland dwelt to the
north, Carolina to the south. Virginia, seeking space, must begin to grow
There were settlements from the sea to the Falls of the James, and upon the
York, the Rappahannock, and the Potomac. Beyond these, in the wilderness,
might be found a few lonely cabins, a scattered handful of pioneer folk,
small blockhouses, and small companies of rangers charged with protecting
all from Indian foray. All this country was rolling and hilly, but beyond
it stood the mountains, a wall of enchantment, against the west.
Alexander Spotswood, hardy Scot, endowed with a good temperamental blend of
the imaginative and the active, was just the man, the time being ripe, to
encounter and surmount that wall. Fortunately, too, the Virginians were
horsemen, man and horse one piece almost, New World centaurs. They would
follow the bridle-tracks that pierced to the hilly country, and beyond that
they might yet make way through the primeval forest. They would encounter
dangers, but hardly the old perils of seacoast and foothills. Different,
indeed, is this adventure of the Governor of Virginia and his chosen band
from the old push afoot into frowning hostile woods by the men of a hundred
and odd years before!
Spotswood rode westward with a company drawn largely from the colonial
gentry, men young in body or in spirit, gay and adventurous. The whole
expedition was conceived and executed in a key both humorous and knightly.
These "Knights"* set face toward the mountains in August, 1716. They had
guides who knew the upcountry, a certain number of rangers used to Indian
ways, and servants with food and much wine in their charge. So out of
settled Virginia they rode, and up the long, gradual lift of earth above
sea-level into a mountainous wilderness, where before them the Aryan had
not come. By day they traveled, and bivouacked at night.
* On the sandy roads of settled Virginia horses went unshod, but for the
stony hills and the ultimate cliffs they must have iron shoes. After the
adventure and when the party had returned to civilization, the Governor,
bethinking himself that there should be some token and memento of the
exploit, had made in London a number of small golden horseshoes, set as pins
to be worn in the lace cravats of the period. Each adventurer to the mountains
received one, and the band has kept, in Virginian lore, the title of the
Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.
Higher and more rugged grew the mountains. Some trick of the light made
them show blue, so that they presently came to be called the Blue Ridge, in
contradistinction to the westward lying, gray Alleghanies. They were like
very long ocean combers, with at intervals an abrupt break, a gap,
cliff-guarded, boulder-strewn, with a narrow rushing stream making way
between hemlocks and pines, sycamore, ash and beech, walnut and linden.
Towards these blue mountains Spotswood and his knights rode day after day
and came at last to the foot of the steep slope. The long ridges were high,
but not so high but that horse and man might make shift to scramble to the
crest. Up they climbed and from the heights they looked across and down
into the Valley of Virginia, twenty miles wide, a hundred and twenty long -- a
fertile garden spot. Across the shimmering distances they saw the gray
Alleghanies, fresh barrier to a fresh west. Below them ran a clear river,
afterwards to be called the Shenandoah. They gazed -- they predicted
colonists, future plantations, future towns, for that great valley, large
indeed as are some Old World kingdoms. They drank the health of England's
King, and named two outstanding peaks Mount George and Mount Alexander;
then, because their senses were ravished by the Eden before them, they
dubbed the river Euphrates. They plunged and scrambled down the mountain
side to the Euphrates, drank of it, bathed in it, rested, ate, and drank
again. The deep green woods were around them; above them they could see the
hawk, the eagle, and the buzzard, and at their feet the bright fish of the
At last they reclimbed the Blue Ridge, descended its eastern face, and,
leaving the great wave of it behind them, rode homeward to Williamsburg in
We are thus, with Spotswood and his band, on the threshold of expanding
American vistas. This Valley of Virginia, first a distant Beulah land for
the eye of the imagination only, presently became a land of pioneer cabins,
far apart -- very far apart -- then a settled land, of farms, hamlets, and
market towns. Nor did the folk come only from that elder Virginia of tidal
waters and much tobacco, of "compleat gentlemen" at the capital, and of
many slaves in the fields. But downward from the Potomac, they came south
into this valley, from Pennsylvania and Maryland, many of them Ulster Scots
who had sailed to the western world. In America they are called the
Scotch Irish, and in the main they brought stout hearts, long arms, and
level heads. With these they brought in as luggage the dogmas of Calvin.
They permeated the Valley of Virginia; many moved on south into Carolina;
finally, in large part, they made Kentucky and Tennessee. Germans, too,
came into the valley -- down from Pennsylvania -- quiet, thrifty folk, driven
thus far westward from a war-ravished Rhine.
Shrewd practicality trod hard upon the heels of romantic fancy in the mind
of Spotswood. His Order of the Knights of the Horseshoe had a fleeting
existence, but the Vision of the West lived on. Frontier folk in growing
numbers were encouraged to make their way from tidewater to the foot of the
Blue Ridge. Spotsylvania and King George were names given to new counties
in the Piedmont in honor of the Governor and the sovereign. German
craftsmen, who had been sent over by Queen Anne -- vine-dressers and
ironworkers -- were settled on Spotswood's own estate above the falls of the
Rapidan. The little town of Germanna sprang up, famous for its smelting
To his country seat in Spotsylvania, Alexander Spotswood retired when he
laid down the office of Governor in 1722. But his talents were too valuable
to be allowed to rust in inactivity. He was appointed deputy
Postmaster-General for the English colonies, and in the course of his
administration made one Benjamin Franklin Postmaster for Philadelphia. He
was on the point of sailing with Admiral Vernon on the expedition against
Cartagena in 1740, when he was suddenly stricken and died. He was buried at
Temple Farm by Yorktown. On the expedition to Cartagena went one Lawrence
Washington, who named his country seat after the Admiral and whose brother
George many years later was to receive the surrender of Cornwallis and his
army hard by the resting-place of Alexander Spotswood. Colonial Virginia
lies behind us. The era of revolution and statehood beckons us on.
CHAPTER XVI. GEORGIA
Below Charleston in South Carolina, below Cape Fear, below Port Royal, a
great river called the Savannah poured into the sea. Below the Savannah,
past the Ogeechee, sailing south between the sandy islands and the main,
ships came to the mouth of the river Altamaha. Thus far was Carolina. But
below Altamaha the coast and the country inland became debatable, probably
Florida and Spanish, liable at any rate to be claimed as such, and
certainly open to attack from Spanish St. Augustine.
Here lay a stretch of seacoast and country within hailing distance of
semi-tropical lands. It was low and sandy, with innumerable slow-flowing
watercourses, creeks, and inlets from the sea. The back country, running up
to hills and even mountains stuffed with ores, was not known -- though indeed
Spanish adventurers had wandered there and mined for gold. But the lowlands
were warm and dense with trees and wild life. The Huguenot Ribault, making
report of this region years and years before, called it "a fayre coast
stretching of a great length, covered with an infinite number of high and
fayre trees," and he described the land as the "fairest, fruitfullest, and
pleasantest of all the world, abounding in hony, venison, wilde fowle,
forests, woods of all sorts, Palm-trees, Cypresse and Cedars, Bayes ye
highest and greatest; with also the fayrest vines in all the world . . . .
And the sight of the faire medows is a pleasure not able to be expressed
with tongue; full of Hernes, Curlues, Bitters, Mallards, Egrepths,
Woodcocks, and all other kind of small birds; with Harts, Hindes, Buckes,
wilde Swine, and all other kindes of wilde beastes, as we perceived well,
both by their footing there and . . . their crie and roaring in the
night."* This is the country of the liveoak and the magnolia, the gray,
swinging moss and the yellow jessamine, the chameleon and the mockingbird.
* Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America", vol. V, p. 357.
The Savannah and Altamaha rivers and the wide and deep lands between fell
in that grant of Charles II's to the eight Lords Proprietors of
Carolina -- Albemarle, Clarendon, and the rest. But this region remained as
yet unpeopled save by copperhued folk. True, after the "American Treaty" of
1670 between England and Spain, the English built a small fort upon
Cumberland Island, south of the Altamaha, and presently another Fort
George -- to the northwest of the first, at the confluence of the rivers
Oconee and Oemulgee. There were, however, no true colonists between the
Savannah and the Altamaha.
In the year 1717 -- the year after Spotswood's Expedition -- the Carolina
Proprietaries granted to one Sir Robert Mountgomery all the land between
the rivers Savannah and Altamaha, "with proper jurisdictions, privileges,
prerogatives, and franchises." The arrangement was feudal enough. The new
province was to be called the Margravate of Azilia. Mountgomery, as
Margrave, was to render to the Lords of Carolina an annual quitrent and
one-fourth part of all gold and silver found in Azilia. He must govern in
accordance with the laws of England, must uphold the established religion
of England, and provide by taxation for the maintenance of the clergy. In
three years' time the new Margrave must colonize his Margravate, and if he
failed to do so, all his rights would disappear and Azilia would again
dissolve into Carolina.
This was what happened. For whatever reason, Mountgomery could not obtain
his colonists. Azilia remained a paper land. The years went by. The
country, unsettled yet, lapsed into the Carolina from which so tentatively
it had been parted. Over its spaces the Indian still roved, the tall
forests still lifted their green crowns, and no axe was heard nor any
In the decade that followed, the Lords Proprietors of Carolina ceased to be
Lords Proprietors. Their government had been, save at exceptional moments,
confused, oppressive, now absent-minded, and now mistaken and arbitrary.
They had meant very well, but their knowledge was not exact, and now
virtual revolution in South Carolina assisted their demise. After lengthy
negotiations, at last, in 1729, all except Lord Granville surrendered to
the Crown, for a considerable sum, their rights and interests. Carolina,
South and North, thereupon became royal colonies.
In England there dwelled a man named James Edward Oglethorpe, son of Sir
Theophilus Oglethorpe of Godalming in Surrey. Though entered at Oxford, he
soon left his books for the army and was present at the siege and taking of
Belgrade in 1717. Peace descending, the young man returned to England, and
on the death of his elder brother came into the estate, and was presently
made Member of Parliament for Haslemere in Surrey.
His character was a firm and generous one; his bent, markedly humane.
"Strong benevolence of soul," Pope says he had. His century, too, was
becoming humane, was inquiring into ancient wrongs. There arose, among
other things, a belated notion of prison reform. The English Parliament
undertook an investigation, and Oglethorpe was of those named to examine
conditions and to make a report. He came into contact with the incarcerated
-- not alone with the law-breaker, hardened or yet to be hardened, but with
the wrongfully imprisoned and with the debtor. The misery of the debtor
seems to have struck with insistent hand upon his heart's door. The
parliamentary inquiry was doubtless productive of some good, albeit
evidently not of great good. But though the inquiry was over, Oglethorpe's
concern was not over. It brooded, and, in the inner clear light where ideas
grow, eventually brought forth results.
Numbers of debtors lay in crowded and noisome English prisons, there often
from no true fault at all, at times even because of a virtuous action,
oftenest from mere misfortune. If they might but start again, in a new
land, free from entanglements! Others, too, were in prison, whose crimes
were negligible, mere mistaken moves with no evil will behind them -- or, if
not so negligible, then happening often through that misery and ignorance
for which the whole world was at fault. There was also the broad and
well-filled prison of poverty, and many of the prisoners there needed only
a better start. James Edward Oglethorpe conceived another settlement in
America, and for colonists he would have all these down-trodden and
oppressed. He would gather, if he might, only those who when helped would
help themselves -- who when given opportunity would rise out of old slough
and briar. He was personally open to the appeal of still another class of
unfortunate men. He had seen upon the Continent the distress of the poor
and humble Protestants in Catholic countries. Folk of this kind -- from
France, from Germany -- had been going in a thin stream for years to the New
World. But by his plan more might be enabled to escape petty tyranny or
persecution. He had influence, and his scheme appealed to the humane
thought of his day -- appealed, too, to the political thought. In America
there was that debatable and unoccupied land south of Charles Town in South
Carolina. It would be very good to settle it, and none had taken up the
idea with seriousness since Azilia had failed. Such a colony as was now
contemplated would dispose of Spanish claims, serve as a buffer colony
between Florida and South Carolina, and establish another place of trade.
The upshot was that the Crown granted to Oglethorpe and twenty associates
the unsettled land between the Savannah and the Altamaha, with a westward
depth that was left quite indefinite. This territory, which was now severed
from Carolina, was named Georgia after his Majesty King George II, and
Oglethorpe and a number of prominent men became the trustees of the new
colony. They were to act as such for twenty-one years, at the end of which
time Georgia should pass under the direct government of the Crown.
Parliament gave to the starting of things ten thousand pounds, and wealthy
philanthropic individuals followed suit with considerable donations. The
trustees assembled, organized, set to work. A philanthropic body, they drew
from the like minded far and near. Various agencies worked toward getting
together and sifting the colonists for Georgia. Men visited the prisons for
debtors and others. They did not choose at random, but when they found the
truly unfortunate and undepraved in prison they drew them forth, compounded
with their creditors, set the prisoners free, and enrolled them among the
emigrants. Likewise they drew together those who, from sheer poverty,
welcomed this opportunity. And they began a correspondence with distressed
Protestants on the Continent. They also devised and used all manner of
safeguards against imposition and the inclusion of any who would be wholly
burdens, moral or physical. So it happened that, though misfortune had laid
on almost all a heavy hand, the early colonists to Georgia were by no means
undesirable flotsam and jetsam. The plans for the colony, the hopes for its
well-being, wear a tranquil and fair countenance.
Oglethorpe himself would go with the first colonists. His ship was the Anne
of two hundred tons burden -- the last English colonizing ship with which this
narrative has to do -- and to her weathered sails there still clings a
fascination. On board the Anne, beside the crew and master, are Oglethorpe
himself and more than a hundred and twenty Georgia settlers, men, women,
and children. The Anne shook forth her sails in mid-November, 1732, upon
the old West Indies sea road, and after two months of prosperous faring,
came to anchor in Charles Town harbor.
South Carolina, approving this Georgia settlement which was to open the
country southward and be a wall against Spain, received the colonists with
hospitality. Oglethorpe and the weary colonists rested from long travel,
then hoisted sail again and proceeded on their way to Port Royal, and
southward yet to the mouth of the Savannah. Here there was further tarrying
while Oglethorpe and picked men went in a small boat up the river to choose
the site where they should build their town.
Here, upon the lower reaches, there lay a fair plateau, a mile long, rising
forty feet above the stream. Near by stood a village of well-inclined
Indians -- the Yamacraws. Ships might float upon the river, close beneath the
tree-crowned bluff. It was springtime now and beautiful in the southern
land -- the sky azure, the air delicate, the earth garbed in flowers. Little
wonder then that Oglethorpe chose Yamacraw Bluff for his town.
A trader from Carolina was found here, and the trader's wife, a half-breed,
Mary Musgrove by name, did the English good service. She made her Indian
kindred friends with the newcomers. From the first Oglethorpe dealt wisely
with the red men. In return for many coveted goods, he procured within the
year a formal cession of the land between the two rivers and the islands
off the coast. He swore friendship and promised to treat the Indians
justly, and he kept his oath. The site chosen, he now returned to the Anne
and presently brought his colonists up the river to that fair place. As
soon as they landed, these first Georgians began immediately to build a
town which they named Savannah.
Ere long other emigrants arrived. In 1734 came seventy-eight German
Protestants from Salzburg, with Baron von Reck and two pastors for leaders.
The next year saw fifty-seven others added to these. Then came Moravians
with their pastor. All these strong, industrious, religious folk made
settlements upon the river above Savannah. Italians came, Piedmontese sent
by the trustees to teach the coveted silk-culture. Oglethorpe, when he
sailed to England in 1734, took with him Tomochi-chi, chief of the
Yamacraws, and other Indians. English interest in Georgia increased.
Parliament gave more money -- 26,000 pounds. Oglethorpe and the trustees
gathered more colonists. The Spanish cloud seemed to be rolling up in the
south, and it was desirable to have in Georgia a number of men who were by
inheritance used to war. Scotch Highlanders -- there would be the right folk!
No sooner said than gathered. Something under two hundred, courageous and
hardy, were enrolled from the Highlands. The majority were men, but there
were fifty women and children with them. All went to Georgia, where they
settled to the south of Savannah, on the Altamaha, near the island of St.
Simon. Other Highlanders followed. They had a fort and a town which they
named New Inverness, and the region that they peopled they called Darien.
Oglethorpe himself left England late in 1735, with two ships, the Symond
and the London Merchant, and several hundred colonists aboard. Of these
folk doubtless a number were of the type the whole enterprise had been
planned to benefit. Others were Protestants from the Continent. Yet
others -- notably Sir Francis Bathurst and his family -- went at their own
charges. After Oglethorpe himself, most remarkable perhaps of those going
to Georgia were the brothers John and Charles Wesley. Not precisely
colonists are the Wesleys, but prospectors for the souls of the colonists,
and the souls of the Indians -- Yamacraws, Uchees, and Creeks.
They all landed at Savannah, and now planned to make a settlement south of
their capital city, by the mouth of Altamaha. Oglethorpe chose St. Simon's
Island, and here they built, and called their town Frederica.
"Each Freeholder had 60 Feet in Front by 90 Feet in depth upon the high
Street for House and Garden; but those which fronted the River had but 30
in Front, by 60 Feet in depth. Each Family had a Bower of Palmetto Leaves
finished upon the back Street in their own Lands. The side toward the front
Street was set out for their Houses. These Palmetto Bowers were very
convenient shelters, being tight in the hardest Rains; they were about 20
Feet long and 14 Feet wide, and in regular Rows looked very pretty, the
Palmetto Leaves lying smooth and handsome, and of a good Colour. The whole
appeared something like a Camp; for the Bowers looked like Tents, only
being larger and covered with Palmetto Leaves."*
* Moore's "Voyage to Georgia". Quoted in Winsor's "Narrative and
Critical History of America", vol. V, p. 378.
Their life sounds idyllic, but it will not always be so. Thunders will
arise; serpents be found in Eden. But here now we leave them -- in infant
Savannah -- in the Salzburgers' village of Ebenezer and in the Moravian
village nearby -- in Darien of the Highlanders -- and in Frederica, where until
houses are built they will live in palmetto bowers.
Virginia, Maryland, the two Carolinas, Georgia -- the southern sweep of
England-in-America -- are colonized. They have communication with one another
and with middle and northern England-in-America. They also have
communication with the motherland over the sea. The greetings of kindred
and the fruits of labor travel to and fro: over the salt, tumbling waves.
But also go mutual criticism and complaint. "Each man," says Goethe, "is
led and misled after a fashion peculiar to himself." So with those mass
persons called countries. Tension would come about, tension would relax,
tension would return and increase between Mother England and Daughter
America. In all these colonies, in the year with which this narrative
closes, there were living children and young persons who would see the cord
between broken, would hear read the Declaration of Independence. So -- but
the true bond could never be broken, for mother and daughter after all are
THE NAVIGATION LAWS
Three acts of Parliament -- the Navigation Act of 1660, the Staple Act of
1663, and the Act of 1673 imposing Plantation Duties -- laid the foundation
of the old colonial system of Great Britain. Contrary to the somewhat
passionate contentions of older historians, they were not designed in any
tyrannical spirit, though they embodied a theory of colonization and trade
which has long since been discarded. In the seventeenth century colonies
were regarded as plantations existing solely for the benefit of the mother
country. Therefore their trade and industry must be regulated so as to
contribute most to the sea power, the commerce, and the industry of the
home country which gave them protection. Sir Josiah Child was only
expressing a commonplace observation of the mercantilists when he wrote
"That all colonies or plantations do endamage their Mother-Kingdoms, whereof
the trades of such Plantations are not confined by severe Laws, and good
execution of those Laws, to the Mother-Kingdom."
The Navigation Act of 1660, following the policy laid down in the statute
of 1651 enacted under the Commonwealth, was a direct blow aimed at the
Dutch, who were fast monopolizing the carrying trade. It forbade any goods
to be imported into or exported from His Majesty's plantations except in
English, Irish, or colonial vessels of which the master and three fourths
of the crew must be English; and it forbade the importation into England of
any goods produced in the plantations unless carried in English bottoms.
Contemporary Englishmen hailed this act as the Magna Charta of the Sea.
There was no attempt to disguise its purpose. "The Bent and Design," wrote
Charles Davenant, "was to make those colonies as much dependant as possible
upon their Mother-Country," by preventing them from trading independently
and so diverting their wealth. The effect would be to give English, Irish,
and colonial shipping a monopoly of the carrying trade within the Empire.
The act also aided English merchants by the requirement that goods of
foreign origin should be imported directly from the place of production;
and that certain enumerated commodities of the plantations should be
carried only to English ports. These enumerated commodities were products
of the southern and semitropical plantations: "Sugars, Tobacco,
Cotton-wool, Indicoes, Ginger, Fustick or other dyeing wood."
To benefit British merchants still more directly by making England the
staple not only of plantation products but also of all commodities of all
countries, the Act of 1663 was passed by Parliament. "No Commoditie of the
Growth Production or Manufacture of Europe shall be imported into any Land
Island Plantation Colony Territory or Place to His Majestie belonging . . .
but what shall be bona fide and without fraude laden and shipped in England
Wales [and] the Towne of Berwicke upon Tweede and in English built
Shipping." The preamble to this famous act breathed no hostile intent. The
design was to maintain "a greater correspondence and kindnesse" between the
plantations and the mother country; to encourage shipping; to render
navigation cheaper and safer; to make "this Kingdome a Staple not only of
the Commodities of those Plantations but also of the Commodities of other
Countries and places for the supplying of them -- " it "being the usage of
other nations to keepe their [Plantations] Trade to themselves."
The Act of 1673 was passed to meet certain difficulties which arose in the
administration of the Act of 1660. The earlier act permitted colonial
vessels to carry enumerated commodities from the place of production to
another plantation without paying duties. Under cover of this provision, it
was assumed that enumerated commodities, after being taken to a plantation,
could then be sent directly to continental ports free of duty. The new act
provided that, before vessels left a colonial port, bonds should be given
that the enumerated commodities would be carried only to England. If bonds
were not given and the commodities were taken to another colonial port,
plantation duties were collected according to a prescribed schedule.
These acts were not rigorously enforced until after the passage of the
administrative act of 1696 and the establishment of admiralty courts. Even
then it does not appear that they bore heavily on the colonies, or
occasioned serious protest. The trade acts of 1764 and 1765 are described
in "The Eve of the Revolution". -- EDITOR.
The literature of the Colonial South is like the leaves of Vallombrosa for
multitude. Here may be indicated some volumes useful in any general survey.
Hakluyt's "Principal Voyages." 12 vols. (Hakluyt Society. Extra Series,
1905-1907.) "The Prose Epic of the modern English nation."
"Purchas, His Pilgrims." 20 vols. (Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 1905-1907.)
Hening's "Statutes at Large," published in 1823, is an eminently valuable
collection of the laws of colonial Virginia, beginning with the Assembly of
1619. Hening's own quotation from Priestley, "The Laws of a country are
necessarily connected with everything belonging to the people of it: so
that a thorough knowledge of them and of their progress would inform us of
everything that was most useful to be known," indicates the range and
weight of his thirteen volumes.
William Stith's "The History of the Discovery and First Settlement of
Virginia" (1747) gives some valuable documents and a picture of the first
years at Jamestown.
Alexander Brown's "Genesis of the United States", 2 vols. (1890), is a very
valuable work, giving historical manuscripts and tracts. Less valuable is
his "First Republic in America" (1898), in which the author attempts to
weave his material into a historical narrative.
Philip A. Bruce's "Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth
Century", 2 vols. (1896), is a highly interesting and exhaustive survey.
The same author has written "Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth
Century" (1907) and "Institutional History of Virginia in the Seventeenth
Century", 2 vols. (1910).
John Fiske's "Virginia and Her Neighbors," 2 vols. (1897), and John E.
Cooke's Virginia (American Commonwealth Series, 1883) are written in
lighter vein than the foregoing histories and possess much literary
On Captain John Smith there are writings innumerable. Some writers give
credence to Smith's own narratives, while others do not. John Fiske accepts
the narratives as history, and Edward Arber, who has edited them (2 vols.,
1884), holds that the "General History" (1624) is more reliable than the
"True Relation" (1608). On the other side, as doubters of Smith's
credibility, are ranged such weighty authorities as Charles Deane, Henry
Adams, and Alexander Brown.
Thomas J. Wertenbaker's "Virginia under the Stuarts" (1914) is a
painstaking effort to set forth the political history of the colony in the
light of recent historical investigation, but the book is devoid of
"The Archives of Maryland", 37 vols. (1883-) contain the official documents
of the province. John L. Bozman's "History of Maryland", 2 vols. (1837),
contains much valuable material for the years 1634-1658.
J. T. Scharf's "History of Maryland", 3 vols. (1879), is a solid piece of
work; but the reader will turn by preference to the more readable books by
John Fiske, "Virginia and Her Neighbors", and William H. Browne, "Maryland,
The History of a Palatinate " ("American Commonwealth Series," 1884).
Browne has also written "George and Cecilius Calvert" (1890).
"The Colonial Records of North Carolina", 10 vols. (1886-1890), are a mine
of information about both North and South Carolina.
Francis L. Hawks's "History of North Carolina", 2 vols. (1857-8), remains
the most substantial work on the colony to the year 1729.
Samuel A. Ashe's "History of North Carolina" (1908) carries the political
history down to 1783.
Edward McCrady's "History of South Carolina under the Proprietary
Government" (1897) and "South Carolina under the Royal Government" (1899)
have superseded the older histories by Ramsay and Hewitt.
The best histories of Georgia are those by William B. Stevens, 2 vols.
(1847, 1859), and Charles C. Jones, 2 vols. (1883). Robert Wright's "Memoir
of General James Oglethorpe" (1867) is still the best life of the founder
In the "American Nation Series" and in Winsor's "Narrative and Critical
History of America", the reader will find accounts of the Southern colonies
written by specialists and accompanied by much critical apparatus. Further
lists will be found appended to the articles on the several States in "The
Encyclopaedia Britannica", 11th edition.