Imágenes de páginas

crowded on board, and were conveyed to Charleston. The Indians collected from all sides, and advanced upon that capital ; two detachments, which attempted to stop their progress, were surprised or ensnared, and suffered severely. Craven, the governor, however, having mustered 1,200 men fit to bear arms, succeeded in stopping their progress ; upon which, having collected all his strength, and receiving a reinforcement from North Carolina, he marched to the attack of their grand camp. The struggle was long and fierce—the Indians having stationed themselves in a broken and entangled spot, fitted for their wild manœuvres. At length they were completely defeated, and soon after driven beyond the limits of the colony.

The termination of this contest was immediately followed by violent internal disturbances. The settlers had many grounds of complaint against the proprietors, who had not afforded any pecuniary aid during the late sanguinary contest, At its close the assembly passed acts bestowing the lands whence the Indians had been expelled upon such persons as might choose to occupy them; on the faith of which a party of 500 emigrated from Ireland. But the proprietary annulling this grant, caused them to be ejected, and the tract divided into baronies for their own benefit. They disallowed other laws, which the colonists were extremely desirous to obtain, and sent orders to the governor to sanction none which had not been previously submitted to themselves. They reposed their entire confidence in Trott

, the chief-justice, who was even accused of malversation in nis office ; but the complaints against him from the people, and even the goveryor, were disdainfully rejected. This discontent, long fomenting, broke out openly on a report of invasion from the Havana. In this emergency the assembly refused to vote any supplies ; a bond of union was drawn up, and signed by almost all the inhabitants. They transmitted a proposal to Johnson that he should contiue to hold his office in the name of the king; but as he declined the offer, Colonel Moore was elected. The other made some attempts to compel submission, but found his force inadequate. The issue of the whole transaction, however, depended on the view which might be taken by the crown, always disposed to favor any arrangement that might extend its prerogative. The king, oeing absent in Hanover, had left the government in the hands of a regency, who, on examining the case, decided that the proprietors had forfeited their charter, and ordered proceedings to be instituted for its dissolution. Acting certainly with great promptitude, as if this were already effected, they named Sir Francis Nicholson governor, under a commission from his majesty. That person distinguished in other stations for his active talents, had been accused of arbitrary maxims ; but in Carolina he seems to have laid these aside, and rendered himself extremely acceptable. He made great exertions to provide for religions instruction, and the diffusion of education. Through an alliance with the Creeks and Cherokees, he secured the frontier, which had been considerably harassed by Indian incursions.

We may here pause to mention, that at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century, the American coast, and particularly Carolina, was dreadfully infested by piracy. The long war between France and Spain, aided by the vicinity of the West Indies, afforded large scope for priva

After the peace, they were unwilling to relinquish so lucrative an occupation; and, exercising it equally on friends and foes, spread desolation over all those shores. The governors, it is said, instead of striving to suppress the disorder, often secretly favored it, and shared in the profits. James II., in 1687, equipped a small fleet under Sir Robert Holmes, who considerably checked the evil ; but it again broke out with augmented violence, especially after the treaty of Utrecht. John Theach, called Blackbeard, equally frightful in his aspect 'ard. character, became a sort of pirate-king—the idol of his followers, and the terror of all peaceable merchants. In 1718, George I. despatched a squadron under Woodes Rogers, who took the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, long a kind of outlawed capital. The pirates attempted to form another stronghold at the mouth of Cape Fear river, but were driven from it by the governor of Carolina. Rogers was empowered, in case of submission, to offer pardon to those who should surrender, of which most availed themselves ; though some afterward resumed their vocation, and among them Theach himself, who was soon, however, defeated and killed. In the course of the five subsequent years, twenty-six suffered death for this offence.


In 1729, the transactions of the proprietors were finally closed by a deed surrendering all their rights into the hands of the crown. They received in return £17,500, with £5,000 for arrears of rent amounting to £9,000 ; but Lord Carteret, while resigning all political power, preferred to retain his claim to property in the soil, of which an ample portion was assigned to him. The colonists were gratified by the entire remission of their quit-rents. In 1694, the captain of a vessel from Madagascar, having touched at Carolina, had presented the governor with a bag of rice, which, being distributed among several farmers, throve so remarkably, that it had already become a staple of the settlement; and the privilege was now granted of exporting this article direct to any part of Europe southward of Cape Finisterre. North and South Carolina, too, which in point of fact had always been distinct, and their occupied parts even distant from each other, were now finally declared to be two colonies, each to have its separate governor.

From this era their affairs held a pretty uniform course, diversified only as the character of the successive governors was popular or otherwise. They continued to draw numerous bodies of emigrants ; and their career, both of agriculture and commerce, was extremely prosperous. This, it is painful to add, was in a great measure effected by large importations of negro slaves, which enabled the wealthy to cultivate plantations on an extensive scale, and without personal labor. It appears also that reproach was incurred by the harshness with which these captives were treated ; and serious alarms of insurrection were entertained. To guard against this danger, they petitioned, in 1742, to be allowed to raise and maintain three independent companies ; a boon which, though refused at first, was finally granted. These colonies derived a considerable accession from the rebellion of 1745, at the close of which many adherents of the vanquished cause were allowed to seek shelter in the western plantations, and induced by various circumstances to prefer the Carolinas. The discovery of indigo, as a native production, afforded, in addition to rice, another article for which a sure demand would be found in Europe. About the middle of the eighteenth century, too, when the other colonies began to have at least their best lands appropriated, this, which was still comparatively unoccupied, drew settlers from them, especially from Pennsylvania. Although estates along the coast were become scarce, valuable tracts remained in the interior, to which these American emigrants were pleased to resort.

After all that had been done before 1732 for the peopling of Carolina, there remained a large district between the Savannah and the Alatamaha, claimed by Britain, yet completely uninhabited. This disadvantage was more felt from its being bordered, not only by powerful Indian tribes, but by the Spaniards in Florida and the French in Louisiana; both having claims which, if circunstances favored, they could plausibly advance. The planters were particularly anxious to have a settlement formed, that might stand like a wall between them and these troublesome neighbors, but were much at a loss for persons who would voluntarily station themselves in a situation so unpleasant. Circumstances arosa in England which afforded a prospect of supplying this want. A body of dis tinguished individuals, under the impulse of humanity,

6 Redressive searched

Into the horrors of the gloomy jail." General Oglethorpe, a soldier, brave, honorable, and humane, moved an inquiry, in 1728, into the treatment and condition of persons confined in the pris

[ocr errors]

FIG. 42.-Portrait of General Oglethorpe. ons of England, and in the following year presented a report upon this subject. It was found that, under the extremely bad management then prevalent, many persons imprisoned for debt or minor offences were treated most tyrannically, deprived of common comforts, and their morals farther injured by the associates with whom they were compelled to mingle. Many of them, even if liberated, could not have returned to the world with any prospect of comfort or advantage ; and hence it occurred that to them a residence in the new continent might form an extremely desirable change. They could not be fastidious as to the situation, and might there be formed into military colonies, as a barrier to the other states. The conversion and improvement of the Indians entered into this generous plan. It was entrusted to a body of eminent persons, who undertook to act as trustees, not entering, like former associations, into a mercantile speculation for profit, but from philanthropic motives devoting their time and contributions to the object. They were to administer the colony during twenty-one years, after which it was to revert to the crown. It was named Georgia, from the reigning monarch; and Oglethorpe, with whom the whole scheme had originated, undertook to act gratuitously as governor. A general enthusiasm prevailed throughout the nation; large sims were subscribed by benevolent individuals; and parliament, in the course of two years, voted £36,000 for the purpose.

In the end of 1732, Oglethorpe, with a party of a hundred and sixteen, sailed for the new settlement. Having touched on their way at South Carolina, his followers were most hospitably received; and on their arrival, he made it his first object to conciliate the neighboring Indians, belonging to the powerful race of the Creeks. His efforts, guided by sincerity and discretion, were crowned with success. He prevailed upon Tomochichi, the head of this savage confed

eracy, to meet him at Savannah, accompanied by fifty other petty chiefs, called kings. This aged person, expressing his ideas as usual by outward symbols, presented to the governor the skin of a buffalo, on the inside of which the head and feathers of an eagle were painted. This indicated the swiftness and power of the English, and also, by its softness and warmth, the love and protection which the Indians expected from them. This chief was even induced to visit Britain, where he met with many attentions, and had an audience of George II., whom he presented with a bunch of eagles' feathers, saying, “ These are a sign of peace in our land, and have been carried from town to town there. We have brought them over to leave them with you, O great king, as a token of everlasting peace. O great king, whatever words you shall say unto me, I will faithfully tell them to all the kings of the Creek nations." In 1734, the town of Augusta was founded on the Upper Savannah, with a view to local trade. During the same year, two successive parties went out, amounting to 500 or 600, of whom 100 defrayed their own expenses. About 150 Highlanders were induced to join the colony, being well fitted for its military objects. A party of Moravians also arrived, whose industrious habits were likely to be of great advantage ; and by a report of the trustees in 1740, it appeared that 2,500 emigrants had been sent out, at an expense of £80,000. John and Charles Wesley, then only known as zealous clergymen, were prevailed upon to accept livings in the colony.

Notwithstanding these promising appearances, and this most zealous support, Georgia did not prosper. The proprietors began with a series of regulations, well meant indeed, but carried to an extreme, and with little attention to existing circumstances. A complete prohibition was imposed on the introduction of rum, and even on all commercial intercourse with the West Indies. The importation of negroes was forbidden ; a laudable measure, but indignantly endured by the colonists, who saw much wealth accruing to Carolina from their employment. The lands were most injudiciously granted in small lots of twenty-five acres, on condition of military service, and with that view descending only to heirs male. The settlers soon began to display those faults which, from their previous condition, might have been anticipated. Complaints were made against the Wesleys for their extreme rigidness, their peculiar forms of worship, and for giving their confidence to unworthy persons, who made faise pretences of piety. Feuds rose so high that both left the colony. Whitefield, founder of the rival sect of Methodists, went out in 1740, with a particular view to establish an orphan asylum, which did not succeed ; but his zealous and eloquent, though somewhat rude address, produced a strong impression, and were supposed to effect considerable good.

Affairs were rendered still further critical by the Spanish war, which, after long irritation and petty aggression, broke out in 1738. Oglethorpe determined to attack St. Augustine, the capital of Florida. Great preparations were made for this enterprise ; Virginia and the Carolinas furnished a regiment, as well as £120,000 currency; and an Indian force undertook to assist.

The governor, who was thus enabled to make an invasion with 2,000 men, reduced two successive forts; but the castle of St. Augustine itself was found too strongly fortified to allow a reasonable hope of reducing it unless by blockade. This he expected to accomplish by the aid of a strong flotilla, which came to co-operate with him. It proved, however, a very discouraging service for his undisciplined warriors; and the Indians, disgusted by an expression which escaped him, of horror at their cruelty, went off. The Highlanders, his best troops, were surprised, and a number cut to pieces ; while the militia lost courage, broke the restraints of discipline, and deserted in great numbers. It proved impossible to prevent the eneniy from procuring a reinforcement and large supply of provisions. In short

maiters were so adverse a state, that he had no alternative but to raise the siege, and return with his armament seriously shattered, and his reputation impaired.

The Spaniards, in two years after, in 1742, attempted to retaliate, and Monteano, governor of St. Augustine, with thirty-two vessels and 3,000 men, advanced to attack Frederica. Oglethorpe's force was very inadequate, and the aid from the north both scanty and very slow in arriving ; yet he acted so as completely to redeem his military character. By skilfully using all the advantages of his situation, he kept the enemy at bay; then by various stratagems conveyed such an exaggerated idea both of his actual force and expected reinforcements, that they ultimately abandoned the enterprise, without having made one serious attack.

Georgia was thus delivered from foreign dangers; but she continued to suffer under her internal evils. The colonists complained that absurd regulations debarred them from rendering their productions available, and kept them in poverty. Numbers removed to South Carolina, where they were free from restraint; and the Moravians, being called upon to take up arms contrary to their principles, departed for Pennsylvania. Great efforts were made, as formerly, in Virginia, to produce silk, but for the same reasons without any success. In 1752, the twenty-one years had expired; and the trustees finding that their well-meant endeavors had produced only misery and discontent, relinquished the charge. Georgia became a royal colony, and the people were left at full liberty to use all the means, good and bad, of advancing themselves ; lands were held on any tenure that best pleased them; and a free intercourse was opened with the West Indies. Thenceforth it was on a footing with South Carolina, and advanced with equally rapid steps.

XIV. The colonies, of which we have thus delineated the origin and progress, down to the close of the war in 1763 were altogether unconnected. Each had been founded on a separate basis, by distinct and even hostile classes. Between neighboring communities, where no sentiment of unity reigns, jealousies almost inevitably arise ; and these were aggravated by boundary disputes and other contending claims. Some governors, particularly Nicholson, recommended the union of several of them under one head; but these were men of arbitrary temper, who urged this measure on the home administration as a mode of extending the power of the crown, and keeping down the increasing spirit of independence. Such communications, when they transpired, heightened not a little the antipathy already felt to the proposed measure.

There was, however, one object by which all the colonies were roused to a most zealous co-operation. _It might have seemed a hardship that the successive wars between Britain and France should be transferred to their rising settlements beyond the Atlantic ; but the inhabitants by no means felt it as such, and required only permission, in order to rush with fury against each other. The old national antipathy was remarkably strong in this ruder society; the difference of creed made the contests be viewed somewhat as religious wars ; and the contrast between an absolute and a free government appeared peculiarly striking on the English side, where maxims almost republican prevailed. At first the colonies followed in the footsteps of the mother country ; but as their magnitude and importance increased, the flame arose among themselves, and was thence communicated to Europe.

Even so early as 1629, Sir David Kirk, having equipped a fleet, surprised and took Quebec ; but that infant settlement, to which little value was then attached, was restored at the peace of 1632. A severe collision, however, arose in consequence of the support afforded by the English from New York to the Five Nations, in the long and terrible war waged by them against the French

« AnteriorContinuar »