| American History Stories, Volume I|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of early exploration and founding of American colonies, conflicts over religion, and troubles with the Indians, culminating in the French and Indian War. Ages 8-12 |
 You remember the misery of the people of
England under Henry, and Mary, and Queen
Elizabeth. First they must all be devoted to the
English Church to please the king; then they must all
turn Catholics to please Mary; then back they must turn to
the English Church with Queen Elizabeth. It seems very
strange to us now that it should have been considered
necessary for a whole country to change its religion to suit
the religion of the ruler; but the people in those days had
not learned that it is not what a person believes as much as
what he is that makes him a good or a bad citizen.
Thus, at the time the Pilgrims left England,
 they were not the only people who were being persecuted. The
Catholics, too, were having a hard time of it. They also
longing eyes towards a free country where they could
worship God in their own way.
At last, one of their nobles, Lord Baltimore, obtained from
the English King, Charles I., a grant of land and
permission to found a Colony, to be called Maryland, on the
shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Lord Baltimore died before he could carry
out his good work, but in 1634, his son,
Leonard Calvert, came over, bringing with him three hundred
emigrants. After a voyage of four months, they reached
the mouth of the Potomac, and there built a town, which
they named St. Mary's.
The Indians in this part of the country had not seen the
white people then; and when they
 saw them sailing up the Potomac they rushed
down to the banks in wonder. Suddenly they gave a great
yell, and disappeared in the forests. "Oh," said they, "we
have seen a canoe as big as an island, and with as many
men on it as there are trees in the forests!"
They could not understand that a ship was built board by
board, and they wondered where there could be found a
tree large enough to hollow out such a canoe as that.
As soon as these English people were
settled in their new home, they made laws for their colony.
Their laws were very just and generous, especially in
regard to religion. All persons were free to worship as
they pleased in Maryland.
On account of this generous law in the new
colony, many Puritans from Virginia, who had
been persecuted there by the Episcopalians,
 came to Maryland, Quakers came from Massachusetts, and
all classes came from England. Among the latter were
many Methodists, who not only desired to worship God in
their own way, but sent missionaries among the Indians.
Later, John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism,
came over to assist in the work; but the bad example of
some of the white
settlers often did as much harm to the Indians as the
missionaries could do good.
During this time colonies had also been settled in North
and South Carolina, and they had come to be important and
On the southern border of South Carolina there is a large
river, the Savannah. When the Carolinas were settled the
Indians made great trouble for the white men. They felt
that the white men were taking their homes from them, and
that something must be done
 to drive these new comers away. A treaty
was at last made with the Indians, in which
the white men promised to make no settlements south
of the Savannah river. This
treaty was not broken for about seventy years.
Then there came to be a new king in
England, called George II. He gave permission
to General James Oglethorpe, a wealthy but
brave and charitable Englishman, to found a
colony south of the Savannah.
General Oglethorpe's desire was to establish a place
in the New World where poor people could obtain a new
start in life; for at this time there was much poverty and
wretchedness in England.
In November, 1732, his little band, one hundred and
sixteen people in all, set sail from England. They arrived
off South Carolina in February of the following year, and
 the Savannah river, chose for their home the present site
of that city.
Their leader sent for the Indians soon after their arrival,
purchased the land from them and made a treaty with them,
which was faithfully kept as long as General Oglethorpe
remained in the country.
They named their territory Georgia in honor of the King, and
when the laws for this new colony were drawn up, wise
General Oglethorpe firmly declared that there should be no
rum allowed there, and that any sale of it to the Indians
should be punished as one of the greatest crimes. He knew,
wise man that he was, that drinking men would not be
industrious enough to keep a colony prosperous, and that it
would be the very worst thing to allow the Indians to get a
taste of the fire-water, as the Indians called it.
 For a while the colony prospered, as any colony would
under such a wise leader; but these colonists were not all
earnest and industrious people as were the Puritans and
the Quakers; and though they were helped by the English
more than were those of any other colony,
it was not long before some of them began to grumble
bitterly about the hardships of a new country. They also
wrote letters to the king of England, making all sorts of
complaints against their leader, until, at last, disgusted
with them, Oglethorpe returned to England, saying that he
was sick of the very name of colony.
When the twenty-one years had passed for which Oglethorpe
and his companions had been granted leave to hold this land
in Georgia, their charter was given back to King George.
Georgia then became a royal colony; and as
 the king cared very little what the colonists in Georgia or
in any other colony did, they were now free to have as much
strong drink as they liked. For a time matters were in a bad
state in the colony, and it was not until several years
later that the right kind of people came to Georgia. Then
Georgia became a very different kind of colony; and when,
by and by, the Revolution came on no colony was braver or
did more in proportion to its size for the cause than did
this of Georgia.
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