| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
THE FOUNDING OF NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA
 IT was in the part of the United States which we now call North
Carolina, you remember, that Sir Walter Raleigh tried to found a
colony. That colony came to nothing, and the land which the white
men had reclaimed from the wilderness returned once more to the
Nearly a hundred years went past before white men again appeared in
that part of the country. In 1629 King Charles I granted all this
region to Sir Robert Heath, but he made no attempt to colonise it.
Then a few settlers from Virginia and New England and the Barbados,
finding the land vacant and neglected, settled there.
Meanwhile Charles II had come to the throne, and, wanting to
reward eight of his friends who had been staunch to him during the
Commonwealth, he gave them all the land between latitude
30° and 36° and from sea to sea. If you look on the map you will
see that this takes in nearly the whole of the Southern States.
Sir Robert Heath was by this time dead, and his heirs had done
nothing with his great territory in America, but as soon as it was
given to others they began to make a fuss. Charles II, however,
said as Sir Robert had failed to plant a colony his claim no longer
held good. So the eight new proprietors took possession of it.
This tract of land had already been named Carolina by the Frenchman
Ribaut in honour of Charles IX of France, and now the Englishmen
who took possession of it kept the old name in honour of Charles
 The Lords Proprietary then set about drawing up laws for their new
country. After an old English title they called the oldest among
them the Palatine. Palatine originally meant a person who held
some office about a king's palace. It has come to mean one who has
royal privileges. So a Prince Palatine is really a little king.
When the Palatine died it was arranged that the next in age should
take his place. As to the other seven proprietors they all had grand
sounding titles, such as Chamberlain, Chancellor, Constable, High
Steward, and so on.
Having settled all these grand sounding titles the proprietors went
on to frame a system of laws. They called it the Grand Model or
Fundamental Constitutions, but it was more like some old English
feudal system than anything else. It might have done for the
ancient Saxons of the ninth century; it was quite unsuitable for
rough colonists in a new and almost uninhabited country. It was
quite unsuited for men who had left Europe because they wanted to
get away from old conventions and be more free.
Yet the Lords Proprietors said that the Grand Model was to be the
law of Carolina for ever and ever. The settlers however, would
have nothing to do with the Grand Model, for it was altogether too
fanciful for them. The proprietors on their side persisted. But
when they found it impossible to force the settlers to obey their
laws they changed their Grand Model and tried again. Still it was
of no use. The colonists would not have it. So at length, having
altered their unalterable rules five times, they gave them up
altogether and took to something more simple.
But among much that was foolish and unsuitable in the Grand Model
there was one good thing. That was that every one was free to
worship God in the way he thought right. If only seven men agreed
together, said the Grand Model, they were enough to form a church.
All it insisted upon was that people must acknowledge a God, and
 they must worship Him openly. Nevertheless, in spite of this
they made no provision for worship. No clergymen went with the
settlers, and indeed for many years no clergymen settled among
But because there was religious freedom people of all religions came
to Carolina. Quakers and dissenters of every description sought a
refuge there. They came not only from England, but from the other
colonies and from foreign countries.
You remember that the Protestants of France were called Huguenots,
and that they had had to suffer many things at the hands of Catholic
rulers until the good King Henry of Navarre protected them by the
Edict of Nantes. Now Louis XIV, who was at this time on the throne
of France, revoked that edict. He forbade the Huguenots to worship
God in their own way, and he also forbade them to leave the country
on pain of death.
But thousands braved death rather than remain and be false to their
religion. Some were caught and cruelly punished, but many succeeded
in escaping to Holland, England and even to America. So many Huguenots
now settled in Carolina. They were hard-working, high-minded people
and they brought a sturdiness and grit to the colony which it might
otherwise have lacked. Germans too came from the Palatinate, driven
thence also by religious persecutions. Irish Presbyterians came
fleeing from persecution in Ulster. Jacobites who, having fought
for the Stuarts, found Scotland no longer a safe dwelling-place
came seeking a new home.
These were all hardy industrious people. But besides these there
came many worthless idlers who came to be known as "poor whites."
These came because in the early days when the colony was but
sparsely peopled, and more settlers were wanted, a law was passed
that a new settler need not pay any debts he had made before he came
 colony; and for a year after he came he need pay no taxes.
These laws of course brought many shiftless folk who, having got
hopelessly into debt somewhere else, ran away to Carolina to get
free of it. Indeed so many of these undesirables came that the
Virginians called Carolina the Rogues' Harbour.
Besides all these white people there were a great many negroes
especially in South Carolina. This came about naturally. The climate
of Carolina is hot; there is also a lot of marshy ground good for
growing rice. But the work in these rice fields was very unhealthy,
and white men could not stand it for long. So a trade in slaves
sprang up. Already men had begun to kidnap negroes from the West
Coast of Africa and sell them to the tobacco planters of Virginia.
In those days no one saw anything wrong in it. And now that the
rice fields of South Carolina constantly required more workers the
trade in slaves increased. Whole shiploads were brought at a time.
They were bought and sold like cattle, and if they died at their
unhealthy work it mattered little, for they were cheap, and there
were plenty more where they came from.
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