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The Neighbor Colonies To Virgini





The chronological order would require us at this point to turn to the
Dutch settlements on the Hudson River; but the close relations of
Virginia with its neighbor colonies of Maryland and the Carolinas are a
reason for taking up the brief history of these settlements in advance
of their turn.

The occupation of Maryland dates from the year 1634. The period of bold
and half-desperate adventure in making plantations along the coast was
past. To men of sanguine temper and sufficient fortune and influence at
court, it was now a matter of very promising and not too risky
speculation. To George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, one of the most
interesting characters at the court of James I., the business had
peculiar fascination. He was in both the New England Company and the
Virginia Company, and after the charter of the latter was revoked he was
one of the Provisional Council for the government of Virginia. Nothing
daunted by the ill luck of these companies, he tried colonizing on his
account in 1620, in what was represented to him as the genial soil and
climate of Newfoundland. Sending good money after bad, he was glad to
get out of this venture at the end of nine years with a loss of thirty
thousand pounds. In 1629 he sent home his children, and with a lady and
servants and forty of his surviving colonists sailed for Jamestown,
where his reception at the hands of the council and of his old Oxford
fellow-student, Governor Pott, was not cordial. He could hardly have
expected that it would be. He was a recent convert to the Roman Catholic
Church, with a convert's zeal for proselyting, and he was of the court
party. Thus he was in antagonism to the Puritan colony both in politics
and in religion. A formidable disturbing element he and his company
would have been in the already unquiet community. The authorities of the
colony were equal to the emergency. In answer to his lordship's
announcement of his purpose to plant and dwell, they gave him welcome
to do so on the same terms with themselves, and proceeded to tender him
the oath of supremacy, the taking of which was flatly against his Roman
principles. Baltimore suggested a mitigated form of the oath, which he
was willing to take; but the authorities could not imagine that so much
latitude was left for them to decline from the prescribed form; and his
lordship sailed back to England, leaving in Virginia, in token of his
intention to return, his servants and his lady, who, by the way, was
not the lawful wife of this conscientious and religious gentleman.

Returned to London, he at once set in motion the powerful influences at
his command to secure a charter for a tract of land south of the James
River, and when this was defeated by the energetic opposition of the
friends of Virginia, he succeeded in securing a grant of land north and
east of the Potomac, with a charter bestowing on him and his heirs the
most ample rights and privileges ever conferred by a sovereign of
England.[55:1] The protest of Virginia that it was an invasion of the
former grant to that colony was unavailing. The free-handed generosity
with which the Stuarts were in the habit of giving away what did not
belong to them rarely allowed itself to be embarrassed by the fear of
giving the same thing twice over to different parties.

The first Lord Baltimore died three months before the charter of
Maryland received the great seal, but his son Cecilius took up the
business with energy and great liberality of investment. The cost of
fitting out the first emigration was estimated at not less than forty
thousand pounds. The company consisted of three hundred laboring men,
well provided in all things, headed by Leonard and George Calvert,
brothers of the lord proprietor, with very near twenty other gentlemen
of very good fashion. Two earnest Jesuit priests were quietly added to
the expedition as it passed the Isle of Wight, but in general it was a
Protestant emigration under Catholic patronage. It was stipulated in the
charter that all liege subjects of the English king might freely
transport themselves and their families to Maryland. To discriminate
against any religious body in England would have been for the proprietor
to limit his hope of rapid colonization and revenue and to embroil
himself with political enemies at home. His own and his father's
intimate acquaintance with failure in the planting of Virginia and of
Newfoundland had taught him what not to do in such enterprises. If the
proprietor meant to succeed (and he did mean to) he was shut up
without alternative to the policy of impartial non-interference with
religious differences among his colonists, and the promotion of mutual
forbearance among sects. Lord Baltimore may not have been a profound
political philosopher nor a prophet of the coming era of religious
liberty, but he was an adroit courtier, like his father before him, and
he was a man of practical good sense engaged in an enormous land
speculation in which his whole fortune was embarked, and he was not in
the least disposed to allow his religious predilections to interfere
with business. Nothing would have brought speedier ruin to his
enterprise than to have it suspected, as his enemies were always ready
to allege, that it was governed in the interest of the Roman Catholic
Church. Such a suspicion he took the most effective means of averting.
He kept his promises to his colonists in this matter in good faith, and
had his reward in the notable prosperity of his colony.[57:1]

The two priests of the first Maryland company began their work with
characteristic earnestness and diligence. Finding no immediate access to
the Indians, they gave the more constant attention to their own
countrymen, both Catholic and Protestant, and were soon able to give
thanks that by God's blessing on their labors almost all the Protestants
of that year's arrival had been converted, besides many others. In 1640
the first-fruits of their mission work among the savages were gathered
in; the chief of an Indian village on the Potomac nearly opposite Mount
Vernon, and his wife and child, were baptized with solemn pomp, in
which the governor and secretary of the colony took part.

The first start of the Maryland colony was of a sort to give promise of
feuds and border strifes with the neighbor colony of Virginia, and the
promise was abundantly fulfilled. The conflict over boundary questions
came to bloody collisions by land and sea. It is needless to say that
religious differences were at once drawn into the dispute. The vigorous
proselytism of the Jesuit fathers, the only Christian ministers in the
colony, under the patronage of the lord proprietor was of course
reported to London by the Virginians; and in December, 1641, the House
of Commons, then on the brink of open rupture with the king, presented a
remonstrance to Charles at Hampton Court, complaining that he had
permitted another state, molded within this state, independent in
government, contrary in interest and affection, secretly corrupting the
ignorant or negligent professors of religion, and clearly uniting
themselves against such. Lord Baltimore, perceiving that his property
rights were coming into jeopardy, wrote to the too zealous priests,
warning them that they were under English law and were not to expect
from him any more or other privileges, exemptions, or immunities for
their lands, persons, or goods than is allowed by his Majesty or
officers to like persons in England. He annulled the grants of land
made to the missionaries by certain Indian chiefs, which they affected
to hold as the property of their order, and confirmed for his colony the
law of mortmain. In his not unreasonable anxiety for the tenure of his
estate, he went further still; he had the Jesuits removed from the
charge of the missions, to be replaced by seculars, and only receded
from this severe measure when the Jesuit order acceded to his terms. The
pious and venerable Father White records in his journal that occasion
of suffering has not been wanting from those from whom rather it was
proper to expect aid and protection, who, too intent upon their own
affairs, have not feared to violate the immunities of the church.[59:1]
But the zeal of the Calverts for religious liberty and equality was
manifested not only by curbing the Jesuits, but by encouraging their
most strenuous opponents. It was in the year 1643, when the strength of
Puritanism both in England and in New England was proved, that the
Calverts made overtures, although in vain, to secure an immigration from
Massachusetts. A few years later the opportunity occurred of
strengthening their own colony with an accession of Puritans, and at the
same time of weakening Virginia. The sturdy and prosperous Puritan
colony on the Nansemond River were driven by the churlish behavior of
Governor Berkeley to seek a more congenial residence, and were induced
to settle on the Severn at a place which they called Providence, but
which was destined, under the name of Annapolis, to become the capital
of the future State. It was manifestly not merely a coincidence that
Lord Baltimore appointed a Protestant governor, William Stone, and
commended to the Maryland Assembly, in 1649, the enacting of an Act
concerning Religion, drawn upon the lines of the Ordinance of
Toleration adopted by the Puritan House of Commons at the height of its
authority, in 1647.[59:2] How potent was the influence of this
transplanted Nansemond church is largely shown in the eventful civil
history of the colony. When, in 1655, the lord proprietor's governor was
so imprudent as to set an armed force in the field, under the colors of
Lord Baltimore, in opposition to the parliamentary commissioners, it
was the planters of the Severn who marched under the flag of the
commonwealth of England, and put them to rout, and executed some of
their leaders for treason. When at last articles of agreement were
signed between the commissioners and Lord Baltimore, one of the
conditions exacted from his lordship was a pledge that he would never
consent to the repeal of the Act of Toleration adopted in 1649 under the
influence of the Puritan colony and its pastor, Thomas Harrison.

In the turbulence of the colony during and after the civil wars of
England, there becomes more and more manifest a growing spirit of
fanaticism, especially in the form of antipopery crusading. While
Jacobite intrigues or wars with France were in progress it was easy for
demagogues to cast upon the Catholics the suspicion of disloyalty and of
complicity with the public enemy. The numerical unimportance of the
Catholics of Maryland was insufficient to guard them from such
suspicions; for it had soon become obvious that the colony of the
Catholic lord was to be anything but a Catholic colony. The Jesuit
mission had languished; the progress of settlement, and what there had
been of religious life and teaching, had brought no strength to the
Catholic cause. In 1676 a Church of England minister, John Yeo, writes
to the Archbishop of Canterbury of the craving lack of ministers,
excepting among the Catholics and the Quakers, not doubting but his
Grace may so prevail with Lord Baltimore that a maintenance for a
Protestant ministry may be established. The Bishop of London, echoing
this complaint, speaks of the total want of ministers and divine
worship, except among those of the Romish belief, who, 'tis conjectured,
does not amount to one of a hundred of the people. To which his
lordship replies that all sects are tolerated and protected, but that
it would be impossible to induce the Assembly to consent to a law that
shall oblige any sect to maintain other ministers than its own. The
bishop's figures were doubtless at fault; but Lord Baltimore himself
writes that the nonconformists outnumber the Catholics and those of the
Church of England together about three to one, and that the churchmen
are much more numerous than the Catholics.

After the Revolution of 1688 it is not strange that a like movement was
set on foot in Maryland. The beneficent despotism of the Calverts,
notwithstanding every concession on their part, was ended for the time
by the efforts of an Association for the Defense of the Protestant
Religion, and Maryland became a royal colony. Under the new régime it
was easier to inflict annoyances and disabilities on the petty minority
of the Roman Catholics than to confer the privileges of an established
church on the hardly more considerable minority of Episcopalians. The
Church of England became in name the official church of the colony, but
two parties so remotely unlike as the Catholics and the Quakers combined
successfully to defeat more serious encroachments on religious liberty.
The attempt to maintain the church of a small minority by taxes extorted
by a foreign government from the whole people had the same effect in
Maryland as in Ireland: it tended to make both church and government
odious. The efforts of Dr. Thomas Bray, commissary of the Bishop of
London, a man of true apostolic fervor, accomplished little in
withstanding the downward tendency of the provincial establishment. The
demoralized and undisciplined clergy resisted the attempt of the
provincial government to abate the scandal of their lives, and the
people resisted the attempt to introduce a bishop. The body thus set
before the people as the official representative of the religion of
Christ was perhaps as contemptible an ecclesiastical organization as
history can show, having all the vices of the Virginian church,
without one of its safeguards or redeeming qualities.[62:1] The most
hopeful sign in the morning sky of the eighteenth century was to be
found in the growth of the Society of Friends and the swelling of the
current of the Scotch-Irish immigration. And yet we shall have proof
that the life-work of Commissary Bray, although he went back discouraged
from his labors in Maryland and although this colony took little direct
benefit from his efforts in England, was destined to have great results
in the advancement of the kingdom of Christ in America; for he was the
founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign
Parts.

The Carolinas, North and South, had been the scene of the earliest
attempts at Protestant colonization in America. The Huguenot enterprise
at Beaufort, on Port Royal harbor, was planted in 1562 under the
auspices of Coligny, and came to a speedy and unhappy end. The costly
and disastrous experiment of Sir Walter Raleigh was begun in 1584 on
Roanoke Island, and lasted not many months. But the actual occupation of
the region was late and slow. When, after the Restoration, Charles II.
took up the idea of paying his political debts with free and easy
cessions of American lands, Clarendon, Albemarle, and Shaftesbury were
among the first and luckiest in the scramble. When the representatives
of themselves and their partners arrived in Carolina in 1670, bringing
with them that pompous and preposterous anachronism, the Fundamental
Constitutions, contrived by the combined wisdom of Shaftesbury and John
Locke to impose a feudal government upon an immense domain of
wilderness, they found the ground already occupied with a scanty and
curiously mixed population, which had taken on a simple form of polity
and was growing into a state. The region adjoining Virginia was peopled
by Puritans from the Nansemond country, vexed with the paltry
persecutions of Governor Berkeley, and later by fugitives from the
bloody revenge which he delighted to inflict on those who had been
involved in the righteous rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon. These had
been joined by insolvent debtors not a few. Adventurers from New England
settled on the Cape Fear River for a lumber trade, and kept the various
plantations in communication with the rest of the world by their
coasting craft plying to Boston. Dissatisfied companies from Barbadoes
seeking a less torrid climate next arrived. Thus the region was settled
in the first instance at second hand from older colonies. To these came
settlers direct from England, such emigrants as the proprietors could
persuade to the undertaking, and such as were impelled by the evil state
of England in the last days of the Stuarts, or drawn by the promise of
religious liberty.

South Carolina, on the other hand, was settled direct from Europe, first
by cargoes of emigrants shipped on speculation by the great real-estate
operators who had at heart not only the creation of a gorgeous
aristocracy in the West, but also the realization of fat dividends on
their heavy ventures. Members of the dominant politico-religious party
in England were attracted to a country in which they were still to be
regarded before the law as of the only true and orthodox church; and
religious dissenters gladly accepted the offer of toleration and
freedom, even without the assurance of equality. One of the most notable
contributions to the new colony was a company of dissenters from
Somersetshire, led by Joseph Blake, brother to Cromwell's illustrious
admiral. Among these were some of the earliest American Baptists; and
there is clear evidence of connection between their arrival and the
coming, in 1684, of a Baptist church from the Massachusetts Colony,
under the pastorate of William Screven. This planting was destined to
have an important influence both on the religious and on the civil
history of the colony. Very early there came two ship-loads of Dutch
Calvinists from New York, dissatisfied with the domineering of their
English victors. But more important than the rest was that sudden
outflow of French Huguenots, representing not only religious fidelity
and devotion, but all those personal and social virtues that most
strengthen the foundations of a state, which set westward upon the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. This, with the later influx
of the Scotch-Irish, profoundly marked the character of South Carolina.
The great names in her history are generally either French or Scotch.

It ought to have been plain to the proprietors, in their monstrous
conceit of political wisdom, that communities so constituted should have
been the last on which to impose the uniformity of an established
church. John Locke did see this, but was overruled. The Church of
England was established in name, but for long years had only this shadow
of existence. We need not, however, infer from the absence of organized
church and official clergy among the rude and turbulent pioneers of
North Carolina that the kingdom of God was not among them, even from the
beginning. But not until the year 1672 do we find manifestation of it
such as history can recognize. In that year came William Edmundson, the
voice of one crying in the wilderness, bringing his testimony of the
light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The honest
man, who had not thought it reasonable in the Christians of
Massachusetts to be offended at one's sitting in the steeple-house with
his hat on, found it an evidence that they had little or no religion
when the rough woodsmen of Carolina beguiled the silent moments of the
Friends' devotions by smoking their pipes; and yet he declares that he
found them a tender people. Converts were won to the society, and a
quarterly meeting was established. Within a few months followed George
Fox, uttering his deep convictions in a voice of singular persuasiveness
and power, that reached the hearts of both high and low. And he too
declared that he had found the people generally tender and open, and
rejoiced to have made among them a little entrance for truth. The
church of Christ had been begun. As yet there had been neither baptism
nor sacramental supper; these outward and visible signs were absent; but
inward and spiritual grace was there, and the thing signified is greater
than the sign. The influence diffused itself like leaven. Within a
decade the society was extended through both the Carolinas and became
the principal form of organized Christianity. It was reckoned in 1710 to
include one seventh of the population of North Carolina.[65:1]

The attempt of a foreign proprietary government to establish by law the
church of an inconsiderable and not preëminently respectable minority
had little effect except to exasperate and alienate the settlers. Down
to the end of the seventeenth century the official church in North
Carolina gave no sign of life. In South Carolina almost twenty years
passed before it was represented by a single clergyman. The first
manifestation of church life seems to have been in the meetings on the
banks of the Cooper and the Santee, in which the French refugees
worshiped their fathers' God with the psalms of Marot and Beza.

But with the eighteenth century begins a better era for the English
church in the Carolinas. The story of the founding and the work of the
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, taken in
connection with its antecedents and its results, belongs to this
history, not only as showing the influence of European Christianity upon
America, but also as indicating the reaction of America upon Europe.

In an important sense the organization of religious societies which is
characteristic of modern Christendom is of American origin. The labors
of John Eliot among the Indians of New England stirred so deep an
interest in the hearts of English Christians that in 1649 an ordinance
was passed by the Long Parliament creating a corporation to be called
The President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New
England; and a general collection made under Cromwell's direction
produced nearly twelve thousand pounds, from the income of which
missionaries were maintained among some of the Northern tribes of
Indians. With the downfall of the Commonwealth the corporation became
defunct; but through the influence of the saintly Richard Baxter, whose
tender interest in the work of Eliot is witnessed by a touching passage
in his writings, the charter was revived in 1662, with Robert Boyle for
president and patron. It was largely through his generosity that Eliot
was enabled to publish his Indian Bible. This society, The New England
Company, as it is called, is still extant--the oldest of Protestant
missionary societies.[66:1]

It is to that Dr. Thomas Bray who returned in 1700 to England from his
thankless and discouraging work as commissary in Maryland of the Bishop
of London, that the Church of England owes a large debt of gratitude for
having taken away the reproach of her barrenness. Already his zeal had
laid the foundations on which was reared the Society for the Promotion
of Christian Knowledge. In 1701 he had the satisfaction of attending the
first meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts, which for nearly three quarters of a century, sometimes
in the spirit of a narrow sectarianism, but not seldom in a more
excellent way, devoted its main strength to missions in the American
colonies. Its missionaries, men of a far different character from the
miserable incumbents of parishes in Maryland and Virginia, were among
the first preachers of the gospel in the Carolinas. Within the years
1702-40 there served under the commission of this society in North
Carolina nine missionaries, in South Carolina thirty-five.[67:1]

But the zeal of these good men was sorely encumbered with the armor of
Saul. Too much favorable legislation and patronizing from a foreign
proprietary government, too arrogant a tone of superiority on the part
of official friends, attempts to enforce conformity by imposing
disabilities on other sects--these were among the chief occasions of the
continual collision between the people and the colonial governments,
which culminated in the struggle for independence. By the time that
struggle began the established church in the Carolinas was ready to
vanish away.





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