« PreviousContinue »
Stevens, a planter, who had shipped some tobacco to a relative in Boston, and demanded a steer in payment for the shipment. The tax-gatherer attempted to drive away the ox, when the sturdy wife assailed him with her mop-stick and drove him from the premises.
The exasperated people finally, in December, 1677, seized the public funds and imprisoned the governor and six of his councillors, called a new representative assembly and appointed a chief magistrate and judge. Then, for two years, the colonists were permitted to conduct the affairs of their government without any foreign control. Meanwhile, John Culpepper, their leader, whom the royalists denounced as an “ill man, who merited hanging for endeavoring to set the people to plunder the rich,” conscious of his integrity, went boldly to England to plead the cause of the colony. While in the act of re-embarking for America, he was arrested, tried for treason and honorably acquitted. Returning to North Carolinia, he was appointed surveyor-general of the province, and, in 1680, laid out the city of Charleston in South Carolinia.
Until the arrival of Seth Sothel as governor, North Carolinia enjoyed a period of repose.
He had purchased a share in the provinces of Clarendon, and was sent to administer the government.
On his voyage, he was captured by Algerine pirates, but, escaping them, reached North Carolinia, in 1683.
It has been said of this avaricious, extortionate and cruel statesman, that “the dark shades of his character were not relieved by a single virtue.” His advent disturbed the public tranquillity. He plundered the people, cheated the proprietors, and on all occasions seems to have prostituted his delegated power to purposes of private gain. About six weeks of his misrule were all the independent colonists could stand. Then the people rose in rebellion, seized the governor, and were about to send him to England to answer their accusations before the proprietors, when he asked to be tried by the colonial assembly. It is asserted by historians of note, that that body was more merciful than his associates in England would have been, for they found him guilty and sentenced him to only one year's punishment and perpetual disqualification for the office of governor.
Sothel withdrew to the southern colony, and was succeeded by Philip Ludwell, an energetic, honest man, whose wisdom and sense of justice soon restored order and good feeling in the colony. He was succeeded by John Archdale, a Quaker, who, in 1695, came as governor of the two colonies. His administration was a blessing. The people over
whom he ruled were as free in their opinions and actions as the air they breathed. Legal or moral restraints were few; yet the gentle-minded people were enemies to violence or crime. They were widely scattered, with not a city or town and scarce a hamlet within their sylvan domain.
The only roads were bridle paths from house to house, and these were indicated by notches cut in trees“blazed roads." There was not a settled minister in the colony until 1703.
The southern, or Carteret County Colony was, meanwhile, steadily moving along in population and wealth. The settlers, perceiving the fatal objections to the “Fundamental Constitutions” as a plan of government for their colony, did not attempt conforming thereto, but established a more simple government adapted to their conditions. Under it, the first legislative assembly of South Carolinia convened, in the spring of 1672, at the place on the Ashley River where the colony was first seated. In that body, jarring political, social and theological interests and opinions produced passionate debates and violent discord. South Carolinia has ever been a seething political caldron, and, even in that early date, there was a proprietary party and a people's party, a high church party and a dissenters' party, each bigoted and resolute. At times, the debates were so heated
and earnest, that they seemed on the eve of plunging the colony into civil war.
The savages had commenced plundering the frontier, and all factions of the whites were forced to unite against this common enemy.
The bold frontiersman, with his trusty rifle, was often unable to defend his home. His cattle were run away or slaughtered before his very eyes. Old Town was the first point selected for the capital; but Charleston was finally laid out on Oyster Point, and the seat of government was removed to this city, where the second assembly met, in 1682. Immigrants flowed in with a full and continuous stream. Families came from Ireland, Scotland and Holland, and when the edict at Nantes, which secured toleration to Protestants in France, was revoked, a large number of Huguenots fled from their country, and many sought an asylum in the Carolinias. The traditionary hatred of the English for the French was shown at this time. For fully ten years these French refugees were deprived the privilege of citizenship in the land of their adoption.
A colony of Scotch Presbyterians, numbering ten families, was located at Port Royal, South Carolinia, in 1682, and four years later was attacked and dispersed by the Spaniards, who claimed Port Royal as a dependency of St. Augustine.
The persecution of the Huguenots in France