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SELECTION FROM “HATTERAS.”
He paused, then wreathed his horn of cloud
That rulest the southern sea !
Come wrestle here with me.
J. W. HOLDEN.
PROPRIETARY GOVERNMENT. —WILLIAM DRUMMOND.
SiR WILLIAM BERKELEY was the only one of these “Lords Proprietors," the friends of King Charles II., who ever came to America or ever set foot in Carolina.
1663. He was already in America, having been made governor of Virginia twenty years before by King Charles I., in 1642. As the distance is not great, he could easily come from Jamestown into the Albemarle country to see how it looked and whether the grant was likely to be profitable. In 1663 he came.
Now, there certainly had been no formal planting of a colony in Carolina since the days of Sir Walter Raleigh's attempts. But there is no doubt that a good many white people had been for years quietly moving down from the settlements in Virginia into the pleasant land around Albemarle Sound and its rivers.
A certain Mr. John Porie, “Secretary of Virginia,” visited the Chowan River in the year 1622, and he wrote that “it was a very fruitful and pleasant country, yielding two harvests a year,” and that he was very kindly received by the people.” And there are records of land-sales by the Indian chiefs in what is now Perquimans county to white men in 1662, and before it. There is a letter too, written in the year 1654 by one Francis Yardley to a friend in England, in which he tells of trade and business transactions with the Indians in that part of Carolina, and of his building “a fair house" for the chief of one of the tribes, which he was to furnish with “English utensils and chattels."
Such records as these show not only that there were settlements of whites there, but that they were on friendly terms with the Indians. Yardley says that the ruins of Sir Walter Raleigh's fort on Roanoke Island were still to be seen more than seventy years after it had been built, and were shown by the Indians.
And besides this, men from the Massachusetts colony in New England, who had been trading along the coast, attempted in 1660 to make a settlement at the mouth of the Cape Fear, and a few years afterward a party of English from the Bermuda Islands also began a settlement there. Neither of these came to anything, but it is plain that attention was drawn once more to the country as desirable.
The north-eastern corner of the State, being nearest to the Virginia colony, was certainly filling up with white settlers from Virginia when the “Lords Proprietors” took possession of Carolina. The winters were milder than in Virginia: the cane and grass fed the cattle all winter without the trouble of saving fodder for them. Here was a good soil, a fine climate, and abundant crops. And, what was still more attractive, here were no governors, no Church, no sheriffs, no taxes, no laws. Men could live as free as the birds on the trees if they kept watch on the Indians and lived on friendly terms with them. Of course they came, and were glad to come.
Now the time had arrived for a regular government to be set up, that Carolina might take its own separate place among the other English colonies north of it. There must be law and there must be obedience, or else the sun and moon and stars would fall from their places in the sky.
The “Lords” were very anxious to see their “ grant” flourish. They hoped and expected to get a vast revenue from such a great possession, though, in truth, none of them knew exactly how great it was. They were very ready to make laws and send governors and law-officers and agents of all kinds over here.
But the trouble was, that they were at too great a distance from the country they governed, and they did not understand what was best for it, nor what laws the people who lived in it needed.
The first mistake they made was to get a great scholar in England to write out a form of government for their new State. He knew nothing of the countrị, but he sat down in his library three thousand miles away and wrote out a plan which never could be carried out or used, and which proved to be as unfitted for a new wild country like Carolina as a fine cloth suit of clothes would be for a hardworking farmer in his cornfield.
This set of laws was called “ The Fundamental Constitution,” and, though never fully accepted, yet as it was the only lawful government it gave the people a great deal of vexation and hindered their prosperity for many years, til! it was at last thrown off.
1664. In 1664 the “Lords Proprietors” appointed the first governor for Carolina, or rather for Albemarle country. He was William Drummond, a Scotchman by birth, who came from Virginia and was a friend of Governor Berkeley. As he was our first governor, it is pleasant to know that he was a man of good character and highly esteemed, and of a good family.
1664–67. We know very little of the three years during which he ruled the Albemarle country. He returned to Virginia afterward, and ten years later he became engaged in a serious rebellion of the Virginia people against their governor. Berkeley was getting old and very hard and tyrannical, and odious to the colonists after having been a popular and excellent governor for more than thirty years. They rose against him in 1676 in what is called “ Bacon's Rebellion," but were beaten and forced to submit, and Berkeley took a base revenge by hanging all the leaders who came into his hands.
Among them was ex-governor Drummond, who had been his friend, but had felt it his duty to oppose his tyranny. The vindictive old man showed no mercy. He made a low bow to his prisoner, and with cruel words of hatred told him he should be hung in half an hour. And so he was, as
as a gallows could be built. Drummond died . calmly and full of courage, believing that he died in a good cause.
This was the sad end of the man who had been the first