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Current R., Williams T. H., Freidel F., Brinkley A. American History: a survey. 7th edition; New York, 1987.


 

Chapter 2. The English Transplantations

The Roanoke fiasco dampened the colonizing enthusiasm in Englandfor a time. But the lures of the New Worldthe presumably vast riches, the abundant land, the religious freedom, the chance to begin anewthose lures were too strong to be suppressed for very long. Propagandizers such as Richard Hakluyt kept the image of America alive in English society; and by the early seventeenth century, the effort to establish permanent colonies in the New World resumed.

The first of these revived efforts were much like the earlier, failed ones. They were largely private ventures, with little planning or direction from the English government. They were small, fragile, and generally unprepared for the hardships they were to face. And although, unlike the Roanoke experiment, they survived, they were at first in many ways no less disastrous.

Three conditions in particular shaped the character of the first English settlements. First, the colonies were business enterprises. The colonists remained directly responsible to the private companies that had financed them, and one of their principal concerns from the beginning was to produce a profit for their corporate sponsors. Second, the English colonies, unlike the Spanish, were designed to be "transplantations" of societies from the Old World to the New. (Hence the implantation, which was used to describe most of the first settlements.) As in Ireland, there were few efforts to blend English society with the society of the natives. The Europeans attempted, as far as they could, to isolate themselves from the Indians and create enclosed societies that would be entirely their own. And third, because the colonies were tied only indirectly to the crown (which chartered the private companies but took little interest in them thereafter), they began from the start to develop their own political and social institutions. However much the settlers may have wished simply to transplant English society to the New World, they were, in fact, developing a distinctive American society.

The Early Chesapeake

Once James I had issued his 1606 charters to the London and Plymouth companies, the principal obstacle to founding new American colonies was, as usual, money. The Plymouth group made an early, unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony at Sagadoahoc, on the coast of Maine; but in the aftermath of that failure, it largely abandoned its colonizing efforts. The London company, by contrast, moved quickly and decisively under the direction of the wealthy merchant Sir Thomas Smith. Only a few months after receiving its charter, the company launched a colonizing expedition headed for Virginiaa party of 144 men aboard three ships, the Godspeed, the Discovery, and the Susan Constant.

The Founding of Jamestown

Only 104 men survived the journey. They reached the American coast in the spring of 1607, sailed into Chesapeake Bay and up a river they called the James, and established their colony on a peninsula extending from the river's northern bank. They named it Jamestown.

They chose their site poorly. In an effort to avoid the mistakes of Roanoke (whose residents were assumed to have been murdered by Indians) and select an easily defended location, they chose an inland setting that they believed would offer them security. But the site was low and swampy, intolerably hot and humid in the summer, and prey to outbreaks of malaria. It was surrounded by thick woods, which were difficult to clear for cultivation. And it encroached on the territories of powerful local Indians, a confederation led by the imperial chief Powhatan.

The result could hardly have been more disastrous. For seventeen years, one after another wave of settlers attempted to make Jamestown a habitable and profitable colony. Every effort failed. The town became instead a place of misery and death; and the London Company, which had sponsored it in the hope of vast profits, saw itself drained of funds and saddled with endless losses. All that could be said of Jamestown at the end of this first period of its existence was that it had survived.

The initial colonists, too many of whom were adventurous gentlemen and too few of whom were willing laborers, ran into serious difficulties from the moment they landed. Much like the Indians to the south, who had succumbed quickly to European diseases when first exposed to them, these English settlers had had no prior exposure to the infections of the new land and were highly vulnerable to local diseases. Malaria, in particular, debilitated the colony. Even when it did not kill, it so weakened its victims that they could do virtually no work. The promoters in London added to the problems by demanding a quick return on their investment. Energies that would have been better spent growing food and establishing the foundations of a new society were diverted to futile searches for gold and only slightly more successful efforts to pile up lumber, tar, pitch, and iron for export.

The colony suffered as well from the absence of women, which made it difficult for the settlers to establish any semblance of a society. The English were generally unwilling to intermarry with native women (who were, in any case, not easily available to them), and hence Jamestown was at first an entirely male settlement. Without women, settlers could not establish real households, could not order their domestic lives, and had difficulty feeling any sense of a permanent stake in the community.

Greed and rootlessness contributed to the failure to grow sufficient food; an inadequate diet contributed to the colonists' vulnerability to disease; the ravages of disease made it difficult for the settlers to recover from their early mistakes. The result was a community without the means to sustain itself. By January 1608, when ships appeared with additional men and supplies, all but 38 of the first 104 colonists were dead.

Jamestown, now facing extinction, survived the crisis largely as a result of the efforts of twenty-seven year-old Captain John Smith, a famous world traveler. Despite his implausible narratives of hairbreadth escapes from both Turks and Indians, Smith was a sensible and capable man. Leadership in the colony had been divided among the several members of a council, who quarreled continually until the fall of 1608, when Smith as council president asserted his will. He imposed work and order on the community. He also organized raids on neighboring Indian villages to steal food and kidnap natives. During the colony's second winter, fewer than a dozen (in a population of about 200) died. By the summer of 1609, when Smith was deposed from the council and returned to England for the treatment of a serious powder burn, the colony was showing promise of survival.

Reorganization

The London Company (now calling itself the Virginia Company) was in the meantime dreaming of bigger things. In 1609, it obtained a new charter from the king that increased its power over the colony and enlarged its area (to a length of 400 miles north and south and a width extending all the way "from sea to sea, west and northwest"). It raised additional capital by selling stock to "adventurers," who would remain in England but share in future profits. It attracted new settlers by offering additional stock to "planters" who were willing to migrate at their own expense. And it provided free passage to Virginia for poorer people who would agree to serve the company for seven years.

The company envisioned Jamestown as a communal venture. Under its new charter, the company itself would hold title to all land in and control all trade with the colony for seven years. The settlers would contribute their labor to the common enterprise and draw on a company storehouse for subsistence. At the end of the seven years, the profits would be divided among the stockholders. In the spring of 1609, confident that it was poised now to transform Jamestown into a vibrant, successful venture, the company launched a "great fleet" of nine vessels with about 600 men, women, and children aboard headed for Virginia.

Disaster followed. One of the Virginia-bound ships was lost at sea in a hurricane. Another ran aground on one of the Bermuda islands and was unable to free itself for months. Many of those who reached Jamestown, still weak from their long and stormy voyage, succumbed to fevers before the cold weather came. That winter of 1609-1610 became known as the "starving time," a period worse than anything before. The local Indians, antagonized by John Smith's raids and other hostile actions by the early English settlers, killed off the game in the woods and kept the colonists barricaded within their palisade. The Europeans lived on what they could find: "dogs, cats, rats, snakes, toadstools, horsehides," and even the "corpses of dead men," as one survivor recalled. When the migrants who had run aground and been stranded on Bermuda finally arrived in Jamestown in the following May, they found only about 60 people (out of 500 residents the previous summer) still aliveand even those were so weakened by the ordeal that they seemed scarcely human. There seemed no point in staying on. The new arrivals took the survivors onto their ship, abandoned the settlement, and sailed downriver for home.

That might have been the end of Jamestown had it not been for a strange twist of fate. As the refugees proceeded down the James toward the Chesapeake, they met an English ship coming up the riverpart of a fleet bringing supplies and the colony's first governor, Lord De La Warr. The departing settlers agreed to return to Jamestown. New relief expeditions with hundreds of colonists soon began to arrive, and the effort to turn a profit in Jamestown resumed.

De La Warr and his successors (Sir Thomas Dale and Sir Thomas Gates) imposed a harsh and rigid discipline on the colony. They organized settlers into work gangs; they sentenced offenders to be flogged, hanged, or broken on the wheel. But this communal system of labor did not function effectively for long. Settlers often evaded work, "presuming that howsoever the harvest prospered, the general store must maintain them." Well before the end of the seven-year "communal" period designated by the Virginia Company, Governor Dale concluded that the colony would fare better if the colonists had personal incentives to work. He began to permit the private ownership and cultivation of land. Landowners would repay the company with part-time work and contributions of grain to its storehouses. Under the leadership of these first governors, Virginia was not always a happy place. But it survived and even expanded. New settlements began lining the river above and below Jamestown. This progress was partly because of the order and discipline the governors at times managed to impose. But in greater measure it was because the colonists had discovered at last a marketable croptobacco.

Europeans had become aware of tobacco soon after Columbus's first return from the West Indies, where he had seen the Cuban natives smoking small cigars {tabacos), which they inserted in the nostril. By the early seventeenth century, tobacco from the Spanish colonies was already widely in use in Eu~ rope. Sir Walter Raleigh had popularized the smoking habit, and the demand for tobacco soared despite objections on both hygienic and economic grounds, Some critics denounced it as a poisonous weed, the cause of many diseases. King James I himself led the attack with A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604), in which he urged his people not to imitate "the barbarous and beastly manners of the wild, godless, and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custom." Other critics were concerned because England's tobacco purchases meant a drain of English gold to the Spanish importers.

Then in 1612, the Jamestown planter John Roife began to experiment in Virginia with tobacco, a coarse strain of which local Indians had been growing for years. The soil and climate were well suited to the crop. Roife obtained seeds from the Spanish colonies and began growing tobacco of high quality in Virginia. It found ready buyers in England. Tobacco cultivation quickly spread up and down the James. The character of this tobacco economyits profitability, its uncertainty, its land and labor demands transformed Chesapeake society in fundamental ways. (See below, pp. 69-71.)

Of most immediate importance, perhaps, was the pressure tobacco cultivation created for territorial expansion. Tobacco growers needed large areas of farmland to grow their crops; and because tobacco exhausted the soil after only a few years, the demand for new land was incessant. English farmers began establishing plantations deeper and deeper in the interior, isolating themselves from the center of European settlement at Jamestown and encroaching on territory the natives considered their own.

Expansion

Even the discovery of tobacco cultivation was not enough to help the Virginia Company. At the end of the seven-year communal period in 1616, there were still no profits to divide, only land and debts. Nevertheless, the promoters continued to hope that the tobacco trade would allow them finally to turn the corner. In 1618, they launched a last great campaign to attract settlers and make the colony profitable.

The tobacco economy created a heavy demand not only for land but for labor. To entice new laborers to the colony, the company established what they called the "headright" system. Headrights were fifty-acre grants of land, which settlers could acquire in a variety of ways. Those who already lived in the colony received 100 acres apiece. Each new settler received a single headright for himself (or herself). In addition, anyone (new settler or old) who paid for the passage of other immigrants to Virginia would receive an additional headright for each new arrival an inducement to the prosperous to bring new laborers to America. Hence wealthy settlers often received headrights for themselves, for members of their families, and for the servants they imported to work for them. Some colonists were able as a result to assemble sizable plantations. In return, they contributed a small quitrent (one shilling a year for each headright) to the company.

The company added other incentives as well. To diversify the colonial economy, it transported ironworkers and other skilled craftsmen to Virginia. It promised the colonists the full rights of Englishmen (as provided in the original charter of 1606), an end to the strict and arbitrary rule of the communal years, and even a share in self-government. On July 30, 1619, in the Jamestown church, delegates from the various communities met as the House of Burgesses to consider, along with the governor and his council, the enactment of laws for the colony. It was the first meeting of an elected legislature, within what was to become in the next century the United States.

A month later, there occurred in Virginia another event that established a less happy but no less momentous precedent. As John Roife recorded, "about the latter end of August" a Dutch ship brought in "20 and odd Negroes." The status and fate of these first Africans in the English colonies remains obscure. There is some reason to believe that the colonists did not consider them slaves, that they thought of them as servants to be held for a term of years and then freed, like the white servants with whom the planters were already familiar. For a time, moreover, the use of black labor remained limited. Although Africans continued to trickle steadily into the colony, planters continued to prefer European indentured servants until at least the 1670s, when such servants began to become scarce and expensive. But whether or not anyone realized it at the time, the small group of blacks who arrived in 1619 marked a first step toward the enslavement of Africans within what was to be the American republic.

For several years, as the expansion of the colony proceeded, the European settlers had relatively peaceful relations with the Indians of the region. A truce of a sort had resulted from the capture of the great chief Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas and her marriage in 1614 to John Rolfe. (Pocahontas accompanied her husband back to England, where, as a Christian convert and a gracious woman, she stirred interest in projects to "civilize" the Indians. She died while abroad.) The death ofPowhatan, however, marked the beginning of the end of the tranquillity, Powhatan's half-brother, Opechancanough, became head of the native confederacy. He recognized, as his brother apparently had not, the dangers of the steady expansion of European settlement into tribal lands. He resented as well the continuing intrusions of English merchants and missionaries into his villages. And so the Indians under Opechancanough began secretly to plan the elimination of the intruders. On a March morning in 1622, tribesmen called on the white settlements as if to offer goods for sale, then suddenly attacked. Not until 347 whites of both sexes and all ages (including John Roife) lay dead or dying were the Indian warriors finally forced to retreat.

The surviving English struck back mercilessly at the Indians and ultimately turned back the threat, at least for a time. But the massacre was the final blow to the already staggering Virginia Company in London, which had poured virtually all its funds into its profitless Jamestown venture and now faced imminent bankruptcy. In 1624, James I revoked the company's charter; and the colony at last came under the control of the crown. So it would remain until 1776.

The worst of Virginia's troubles were now over, The colony had weathered a series of disasters and had established itself as a permanent settlement. It had developed a cash crop that promised at least modest profits. It had established a rudimentary representative government. And it could now realistically hope for future growth and prosperity. But these successes had come at a terrible cost. In 1624, the white population of Virginia stood at 1,300. Over the preceding seventeen years, more than 8,500 white settlers had arrived in the colony.,More than 80 percent of them7,200 peoplehad died.

Maryland and the Calverts

"The most notable feature of the Chesapeake settlements," the historian Wesley Frank Craven wrote, "is the absence of a common purpose and goal except such as was dictated principally by the requirements of their individual interest." That was true not only in Virginia but in the colony that soon grew up alongside it. Maryland was founded under different auspices and for different reasons, but it developed in ways markedly similar to its neightbor to the south.

Like Massachusetts, Maryland emerged in part from the desire of a religious minority in England to establish a refuge from discrimination. In this case, the minority was not dissenting Protestants but Roman Catholics. The new colony was the dream of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, a recent convert to Catholicism and a shrewd businessman. Calvert envisioned establishing a colony both as a great speculative venture in real estate and as a retreat for English Catholics oppressed by the Anglican establishment at home. He experimented first with a settlement in Newfoundland; but after spending one frigid winter there, he traveled south and decided to relocate his colony in the Chesapeake.

First, however, he had to return to England and win a charter from King Charles I (who succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, James I, in 1625). Winning a charter was a long process, and Calvert died while negotiations were still under way. But in 1632, his son Cecilius, the second Lord Baltimore, finally received a charter and made plans to continue the work his father had begun.

The Maryland charter was remarkable not only for the extent of the territory it granted to Calvert an area that encompassed parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia, in addition to present-day Marylandbut for the powers it bestowed on him. He and his heirs were to hold their province as "true and absolute lords and proprietaries," and were to acknowledge the ultimate sovereignty of the king only by paying an annual fee to the crown. The Calverts could establish a government however they saw fit, adopt whatever methods they wished for distributing land, and even revive the medieval system of feudal dependencyawarding property to men who would become the vassals of the proprietor.

Since the Virginia Company (which still claimed its land rights in America) objected to the Calvert grant. Lord Baltimore remained at home to defend his interests at court. He appointed his brother Leonard Calvert governor and sent him with another brother to see to the settlement of the family's province. In March of 1634, two shipsthe Ark and the Dovebearing 200 to 300 passengers entered the Potomac River and turned into one of its eastern tributaries. On a high and dry bluff, these first arrivals laid out the village of St. Mary's (named, diplomatically, for the queen). The neighboring Indians, already threatened by rival tribes in the region, befriended the settlers, sold them land, and provided them with stocks of corn. The early Marylanders knew no massacres, no plagues, no starving time.

The Calverts had spent a large part of the family fortune in the development of their American possessions, and they needed to attract many thousands of settlers if their venture was to pay. As a result, they had to encourage the immigration of Protestants as well as their fellow English Catholics, who were both relatively few in number and generally reluctant to emigrate. The Protestant settlers (mostly Anglicans) outnumbered the Catholics from the start, and the Calverts quickly realized that Catholics would always be a minority in the colony. It seemed prudent to adopt a policy of religious toleration. To appease the non-Catholic majority, Lord Calvert appointed a Protestant as governor in 1648. A year later, he sent from England the draft of an "Act Concerning Religion," which assured freedom of worship to all Christians.

Nevertheless, politics in Maryland remained plagued for years by tensions between the Catholic minority (including the proprietor) and the Protestant majority. Zealous Jesuits and crusading Puritans frightened and antagonized their respective opponents with their efforts to establish the dominance of their own religion. There was frequent violence and, in 1655, a civil war that temporarily unseated the proprietary government and replaced it with one dominated by Protestants. The English in Maryland were spared serious conflict with Indians; but they made up for that by inflicting decades of conflict and instability on themselves.

Despite the latitude provided by their charter, the Calverts established a government in Maryland that soon resembled that of other colonies, and that of England itself. At the insistence of the first settlers, the Calverts agreed in 1635 to the calling of a representative assemblythe House of Delegateswhose proceedings were based on the rules of Parliament. Within fifteen years, the colony had a bicameral legislature, the upper house consisting of the governor and his council.

In other respects, however, the distribution of power in Maryland differed sharply from that in other parts of English America. The proprietor retained absolute authority to distribute land as he wished; and Lord Baltimore initially granted large estates to his relatives and to other English aristocrats, so that a distinct upper class soon established itself in Maryland. By 1640, a severe labor shortage in the colony had forced a modification of the land grant procedure; and Maryland, like Virginia, adopted a headright systema grant of 100 acres to each male settler, another 100 acres for his wife and each servant, and 50 acres for each of his children. But the great landlords of the colony's earliest years remained powerful even as the population grew larger and more diverse. Like Virginia, Maryland became a center of tobacco cultivation; and as in Virginia, planters worked their land with the aid, first, of indentured servants imported from England and then, beginning late in the seventeenth century, black slaves imported from Africa. But unlike in Virginia, settlement and trade remained dispersed, centered on scattered large plantations, and few towns of significance emerged.

Turbulent Virginia

By the mid-seventeenth century, the Virginia colony had survived its early disasters and was increasing both its population and the complexity and profitability of its economy. It was also growing more politically contentious, as emerging factions within the state began to compete for the favor of the government.

Virginia had been a royal colony, with its governor appointed by the king, ever since the collapse of the Virginia Company in 1624. One of those royal governors. Sir William Berkeley, dominated the politics of the colony for more than thirty years. He arrived in Virginia in 1642 at the age of thirty-six with an appointment from King Charles I; and with but one interruption he remained in control of the government until the 1670s, at times popular, at times faced with serious challenges.

The colonists responded enthusiastically to Berkeley's policies during the first years of his tenure. The governor helped to open up the interior of Virginia by sending out explorers who crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains. He directed a force that put down the Indians in 1644, when old Chief Opechancanough led them in a bloody attack comparable to the massacre of twenty-two years earlier. Opechancanough was captured and (against Berkeley's orders) was shot and killed. The defeated Indians agreed to a treaty ceding to England all the land between the York and the James rivers east of the mountains, and prohibiting white settlement to the west of them.

This attempt to prevent further encroachment on Indian territorylike many such attempts later in American historywas a failure from the start, largely because of the rapid growth of the Virginia population. Cromwell's victory in 1649 in the English Civil War (see p. 46) and the flight of many of the defeated Cavaliers to the colony added significantly to what was already a substantial increase from other sources. By 1650, Virginia's population of 16,000 was twice what it had been ten years before; by 1660, it had more than doubled again, to 40,000. As the choice lands along the tidewater became scarce, new arrivals and indentured servants completing their terms or escaping from their masters pressed on into the western territories. By 1652, English settlers had established three counties in the territory recently set aside for the Indians. There were frequent clashes between the Indians and the frontiersmen.

When Cromwell seized power in England in 1649, Berkeley had to give up the governorship of Virginia; but King Charles II reappointed him after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. Once back in office, Berkeley, by the force of his personality, and by his success in corrupting the council and the House of Burgesses, made himself practically an autocrat. When the first burgesses were elected in 1619, all men aged seventeen or older were entitled to vote. By 1670, the vote was restricted to landowners and elections were rare. The same burgesses, loyal and subservient to the governor, remained in office year after year. Each county continued to have only two representatives, even though some of the new counties of the interior contained many more people than the old ones of the tidewater area. Thus the more recent settlers on the frontier were underrepresented or not represented at all. A pattern was emerging in Virginia that would repeat itself time and again in other parts of America. New settlements in the west (or the "back country," as it was known) were growing larger and more prosperous, developing interests and political demands of their own. But more established elites near the coast continued to ignore the demands of the back country's citizens for representation and assistance. It was a situation that promised to produce social conflict.

Bacon's Rebellion

And in 1676, it did. Nathaniel Bacon, a young, handsome, ambitious graduate of Cambridge University, arrived in Virginia in 1673. His wealth and family background enabled him to purchase a good farm in the west and to obtain a seat on the governor's council. He established himself, in other words, as a member of the back country gentryas part of the influential, propertied elite that was emerging in the western region of the state just as other elites had emerged earlier in the east.

The new back country gentry was different in crucial ways from its tidewater counterpart. Isolated geographically from the colonial government, western aristocrats sensed themselves cut off from real political power. As part of a new, still half-formed frontier economy, their position was always precarious, and it became even more so as Virginia began to suffer serious economic difficulties in the 1670s.

The result was a set of frustrations and resentments that came to a head in response to Berkeley's policies for dealing with Indians on the Virginia frontier. Property owners in the back country had long chafed at the governor's attempts to hold steady the line of settlement so as to avoid antagonizing the Indians. It was, they believed, an effort by the eastern aristocracy to protect its dominance by restricting western expansion. (It was also, in part, an effort by Berkeley to protect his own lucrative trade with the Indians.) Gradually, Bacon established himself as the leader of an opposition faction in western Virginia, whichin defiance of Berkeleyattempted to seize additional lands from the natives.

The result was predictable: a bloody confrontation between white settlers and Indians in 1676, in the course of which several hundred whites (including Bacon's overseer) were killed. Bacon and other concerned landholders demanded that the governor send the militia out to pursue and destroy the Indian marauders. Berkeley, however, continued to try to dampen the conflict. He ordered the militia merely to guard the edge of settlement, to engage in no aggressive actions against the Indians. Bacon was outraged; he organized an army of his own and launched a vicious but ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of the Indian challengers. When Berkeley heard of this unauthorized military effort, he dismissed Bacon from the council and proclaimed him and his men to be rebels.

At that point began what became known as Bacon's Rebellionthe largest and most powerful insurrection against established authority in the history of the colonies, one that would not be surpassed until the Revolution. When Berkeley, in an effort to increase his popular support, called for a new election of members of the House of Burgesses, Bacon became a candidate and was overwhelmingly elected. He then marched with his army to Jamestown to demand his seat. And there the young rebel, not yet thirty years old, confronted the governor, who was now seventy. Berkeley's first impulse was to have Bacon arrested and executed; but fearful of the consequences of hanging such a "darling of the people," he pardoned him, promised him a commission to fight the Indians, and restored him to his position on the council. When Bacon, temporarily pacified, departed with his army, the assembly passed a series of reforms, known as Bacon's Laws, to lessen the authority of the governor and transfer greater powers of self-government to the counties.

Convinced now that he had undermined Bacon's popular support, Berkeley withheld the promised commission and renewed the charge that Bacon was a rebel. Once again, Bacon led his army on a march from the frontier to Jamestownthis time gathering wide popular support as he came. Ultimately he forced Berkeley to flee, burned the capital, andin the midst of widespread social chaos throughout the colonystood on the verge of taking command of Virginia. Instead, he died of dysentery. Berkeley soon managed to regain control, at which point he saw to the repeal of Bacon's Laws and the execution of thirty-seven of the rebels.

Bacon's Rebellion was significant for several reasons. It revealed the bitterness of the competition among rival elitesand between easterners and westerners in particularin the still half-formed society of the colonies. But it also exposed something Bacon himself had never intended to unleash: the potential for instability in the large population of free, landless menmost of them former indentured servants who formed the bulk of Bacon's constituency. The problems of such men were severe and their grievances intense. They were without property and without employment; they were living in areas with few European women and thus were unable to form familial attachments. Instead, they came to constitute a large, floating population. And while Bacon had for a time maintained his popularity among them by exploiting their hatred of Indians, ultimately he found himself, without really meaning to, leading a movement that directed much of its animosity toward the landed gentry (of which Bacon himself was a part). In the years following Bacon's Rebellion, therefore, property owners in both eastern and western Virginia remained uneasy about the potential for revolution among the white lower class. That was one of several reasons for their turning increasingly to the African slave trade to fulfill their need for labor. Enslaved blacks might pose dangers too, but the events of 1676 suggested that the perils of importing a large white working class were even greater.

The Growth of New England

The Plymouth Company, which along with the London (later Virginia) Company had received a royal charter in 1606, never established a permanent settlement in America. It did, however, sponsor explorations of the territory to which it laid claim; and in the process, it gave the region a name. Captain John Smith, after his return from Jamestown, made an exploratory journey for the Plymouth merchants. He wrote an enthusiastic pamphlet about the lands he had seen, calling them "New England."

Plymouth Plantation

The first enduring settlement in New Englandthe second in English Americaresulted from the discontent of a congregation of Puritan Separatists in England. For years, Separatists had been periodically imprisoned and even executed for defying the government and the Church of England; some of them, as a result, began to contemplate leaving England altogether in search of freedom to worship as they wished. It was illegal to leave the realm without the consent of the king; but in 1608 a congregation of Separatists from the hamlet of Scrooby began emigrating quietly, a few at a time, to Leyden, Holland, to begin their lives anew. There they could meet and hold their services without interference. But as aliens, they were not allowed to join the Dutch guilds of craftsmen, and so they had to work long and hard at unskilled and poorly paid jobs. They were particularly troubled by the effects of the tolerant atmosphere of Dutch society, which soon seemed to pose as much of a threat to their dream of a close-knit Christian community as had the repression in England. They watched with alarm as their children began to speak Dutch, marry into Dutch families, and drift away from their families and their church. As a result, some of the Separatists decided to move again, this time across the Atlantic, where they would, they hoped, be able to create the kind of community they wanted without interference and where they could spread "the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world."

Leaders of the Scrooby group obtained permission from the Virginia Company to settle as an independent community with land of their own in Virginia. Although they failed in their efforts to secure a formal guarantee of religious freedom from James I, they received informal assurances that he would "not molest them, provided they carried themselves peaceably." (This was a historic concession by the crown, for it opened English America to settlement not only by the Scrooby group, but by other dissenting Protestants.) The next step was to arrange financing. Several English merchants agreed to advance the necessary funds to the Separatists, on the condition that they agree to a communal plan of settlement like that of Jamestown, with the merchants to share in the profits at the end of seven years.

The migrating Puritans "knew they were pilgrims" even before they left Holland, their leader and historian, William Bradford, later wrote. Their departure for America (from Plymouth, on the English coast) was delayed, and it was not until September 1620 that the Mayflower, with thirty-five "saints" (Puritan Separatists) and sixty-seven "strangers" (non-Puritans) aboard, finally put out to sea. By the time they sighted land in November, it was too late in the year to go on. Their original destination was probably the mouth of the Hudson River, in the northeast corner of the London Company's Virginia grant. But they found themselves instead on Cape Cod. After a few explorations of the region, they chose a site for their settlement in an area just north of the cape, an area John Smith had labeled "Plymouth" on his map.

Plymouth lay outside the London Company's territory, and the settlers realized that they would be without a government once ashore. Some of the "strangers" began to display an apparently lawless spirit; one of the "saints" therefore drew up an agreement, the Mayflower Compact, which forty-one of the passengers signed. The compact was like the church covenant by which the Separatists formed congregations, except that it established a civil government and professed allegiance to the king. Then, on December 21, 1620, the Pilgrims stepped ashore at Plymouth Rock.

They settled on cleared land that had been an Indian village until, four years earlier, a smallpox epidemic had swept through the region and depopulated it. The Pilgrims' first winter was a difficult one; half the colonists perished from malnutrition, disease, and exposure. Those who survived, however, managed to keep the colony alive.

The Pilgrims' experience with the Indians was, for a time at least, markedly different from the experiences of the early English settlers farther south. That was in part because the New England natives, decimated by smallpox, were significantly weaker than their southern neighbors. It was also, perhaps, because the Pilgrims were less actively hostile. They discovered important friendsSquanto, Samoset, Massasoitwho showed them how to gather seafood and cultivate corn. Squanto, who had earlier been captured by an English explorer and taken to Europe, spoke English and was of particular help to the new settlers. After the first harvest, the settlers invited the Indians to join them in an October festival, the original Thanksgiving. They could not aspire to rich farms on the sandy and marshy soil, but they soon developed a profitable trade in fish and furs. From time to time new colonists arrived from England, and in a decade the population reached the modest total of 300.

The people of "Plymouth Plantation" were entitled to elect their own governor, and they chose the remarkable William Bradford again and again. As early as 1621, Bradford won them title to their land by securing a patent from the Council for New England (the successor to the old Plymouth Company, which had charter rights to the territory). But he never succeeded in his efforts to obtain a royal charter giving the Pilgrims clear rights of self-government. Nevertheless, Bradford governed for many years without any real interference from England. He terminated the communal labor plan, distributed land among the families, and thus, as he explained it, made "all hands very industrious." He and a group of fellow "undertakers" assumed the colony's debt to its original financiers in England and, with earnings from the fur trade, finally paid it offeven though the financiers had not lived up to their agreement to continue sending supplies.

The Pilgrims were always a poor community. As late as the 1640s, they had only one plow among them. They clung, however, to the belief that God had put them in the New World for a reason, that they were serving as an example to the world of a truly Christian community. Governor Bradford wrote in retrospect: "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole nation." Ultimately, however, their light was overshadowed by the larger and more ambitious Puritan colonies to their north.

The Massachusetts Bay Experiment

Turbulent events in England in the 1620s (combined with the example of the Plymouth colony) generated a strong interest in colonization among other groups of Puritans. A protracted and often bitter struggle was in progress between king and Parliament; and for a time, religious dissenters suffered severely from the results. James I had created serious tensions for years by his effort to assert the divine right of kings and by his harsh, repressive policies toward Puritans. The situation worsened after his death in 1625, when he was succeeded by his son, Charles I. Charles was even more aggressively autocratic than his father; and his efforts to restore Roman Catholicism to England and to destroy religious nonconformity launched the nation on the road that in the 1640s would lead to civil war. The Puritans were particular targets of Charles's wrath (many of them were imprisoned for their beliefs), and for them the climate of England was becoming intolerable. The king's dissolution of Parliament in 1629 (it was not recalled until 1640) ensured that there would be no political redress.

In the midst of this political and social turmoil, a group of Puritan merchants began organizing a new enterprise designed to take advantage of opportunities in America. At first, their interest was largely an economic one. They obtained a grant of land in New England for most of the area now comprising Massachusetts and New Hampshire; they acquired a charter from the king (who was evidently unaware of their religious inclinations) allowing them to create the Massachusetts Bay Company and to establish a colony in the New World; and they bought equipment and supplies from a defunct fishing and trading company that had attempted (and failed) to establish a profitable enterprise in North America. In 1629, they were ready to dispatch a substantial group of settlers to New England.

Among the members of the Massachusetts Bay Company, however, were a number of Puritans who saw the enterprise as something more -than a business venture. They began to consider the possibility of emigrating themselves, of creating in New England a refuge for Puritans. Members of this faction met secretly in Cambridge in the summer of 1629 and agreed to move en masse to America if the other members of the company would transfer control of the enterprise to them. When those investors who preferred to remain in England concurred and sold their stock to the prospective emigrants, no obstacle remained.

The new owners of the company elected as their governor John Winthrop, a gentleman of means, university-educated, with a deep piety and a forceful character. Winthrop had been instrumental in organizing the migration; and he commanded the expedition that sailed for New England in 1630: seventeen ships and 1,000 people, the largest single migration of its kind in the seventeenth century. Winthrop carried with him the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company, which meant that the colonists would be responsible to no company officials in England, only to themselves.

Unlike the two previous English settlements in AmericaJamestown and Plymouththe Massachusetts migration immediately produced several new settlements. Although the port of Boston, at the mouth of the Charles River, became the company's headquarters and the colony's capital, colonists moved almost simultaneously into a number of other new towns in eastern Massachusetts: Charlestown, Newtown (later renamed Cambridge), Roxbury, Dorchester, Watertown, Ipswich, Concord, Sud-bury, and others.

The Massachusetts Bay Company soon transformed itself into the Massachusetts colonial government. According to the terms of the original company charter, the "freemen" (the eight stockholders) were to meet as a General Court to choose officers and adopt rules for the corporation. But this commercial definition of government, which concentrated authority in what was, in effect, a corporate board of directors, quickly gave way to a more genuinely political system. The definition of "freemen" changed to include all male citizens, not just the stockholders. John Winthrop dominated colonial politics just as he had dominated the original corporation; but after 1634, he and most other officers of the colony had to face election each year. By 1644, the General Court had evolved into a bicameral legislature, with a lower House of Deputies and an upper chamber consisting of the governor and his council.

Unlike the Separatist founders of Plymouth, the Puritan founders of Massachusetts had come to America with no intention of breaking away from the Church of England. They only wanted, they claimed, to rescue the church from what they saw as the evil influence of Rome. Yet if they continued to feel any real attachment to the Anglican establishment, they gave little sign of it in their behavior. In every town, the community church had (in the words of the prominent minister John Cotton) "complete liberty to stand alone," without connection to any Anglican hierarchy and without adherence to Anglican ritual. Each congregation chose its own minister and regulated its own affairs. Thus arose in Massachusettsas well as in Plymouthwhat came to be known as the Congregational church.

The Massachusetts Puritans were not grim or joyless, as many observers would later come to believe. But they were serious and pious people. They strove to lead useful, conscientious lives of thrift and hard work, and they honored material success as evidence of God's favor. "We here enjoy God and Jesus Christ," Winthrop wrote to his wife soon after his arrival; "is this not enough?" Like the Pilgrims in Plymouth, he and the other Massachusetts founders believed they were founding a holy commonwealth, a modela "city upon a hill"for the corrupt world to see and emulate. But if Massachusetts were to become a beacon to others, it had first to maintain its own purity and "holiness." And to that end, the preachers and the officers of the government worked closely together. Ministers had no formal political power, but they exerted great influence on the church members, who alone could vote or hold office. The government in turn protected the ministers, taxed the people (members and nonmembers alike) to support the church, and enforced the law requiring attendance at services. In this Puritan oligarchy, dissidents had no more freedom of worship than the Puritans themselves had had in England.

Like other new settlements, the Massachusetts Bay colony had early difficulties. During their first winter (1629-1630), nearly 200 died and many others decided to leave. But more rapidly than Jamestown or Plymouth, the colony grew and prospered. The nearby Pilgrims and neighboring Indians helped with food and advice. Incoming settlers, many of them affluent, brought needed tools and other goods, which they exchanged for the cattle, corn, and other produce of the established colonists. The dominance of nuclear families in the colony (a sharp contrast to the early years at Jamestown) helped ensure a feeling of commitment to the community and a sense of order among the settlers. And the strong religious and political hierarchy ensured a measure of social stability,

Exodus from the Bay Colony

It did not take long for English settlement to begin moving outward from Massachusetts Bay to various parts of New England (and to other places in English America). Eventually, such migrations would occur as a result of the growing population pressures in the original settlements. At first, however, it was a response to the unproductiveness of the stony soil around Boston and the oppressiveness of the Massachusetts government.

Not all the incoming settlers were Puritan "saints"; and as the population increased, the proportion of those who could vote or hold office declined. The Puritan authorities considered opposition to their church as much a threat to the community as heresy or treason. Independent thinkersand Puritanism occasionally bred themhad little choice but to conform or leave. Such thinkers were responsible for new settlements north and south, in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Families seeking richer lands as well as greater religious and political independence began new settlements in the west, in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Valley, 100 miles beyond the settled frontier, contained such fertile lands that English families began moving there in the early 1630s, despite the presence of native tribes more powerful than those in eastern Massachusetts and despite the claims of the Dutch to those lands. The valley appealed in particular to Thomas Hooker, a minister of Newtown (Cambridge), who defied the Massachusetts government in 1635 and led his congregation through the wilds to establish the town of Hartford. Four years later, the people of Hartford and of two other newly founded upriver towns, Windsor and Wethersfield, established a colonial government of their own and adopted a constitution known as the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. This created a government similar to that of Massachusetts Bay but gave a larger proportion of the people the right to vote and hold office. Another Connecticut colony, the project of a Puritan minister and a wealthy merchant from England, grew up around New Haven on the Connecticut coast. The Fundamental Articles of New Haven (1639) established a Bible-based government even stricter than that of Massachusetts Bay. New Haven remained independent until 1662, when a royal charter officially sanctioned the Hartford colony and awarded it jurisdiction over the New Haven settlements.

Rhode Island had its origins in the religious dissent of Roger Williams, an engaging but controversial young minister who lived for a time in Salem, Massachusetts. Even John Winthrop, who considered him a heretic, called Williams a "sweet and amiable" man; and William Bradford described him as "a man godly and zealous, having many precious parts, but very unsettled in judgment." Williams was a confirmed Separatist who argued that the Massachusetts church should abandon even its nominal allegiance to the Church of England. He was friendly with the neighboring Indians and proclaimed that the land the colonists were occupying belonged to the natives and not to the king or to the Massachusetts Bay Company. The colonial government considered Williams a dangerous man and voted to deport him, but he escaped before they could send him back to England. During the bitter winter of 1635-1636, he took refuge with Narragansett tribesmen; and the following spring he bought a tract of land from them and, with a few followers, created the town of Providence on it.

By that time another, greater challenge to the established order had appeared in Massachusetts Bay. Anne Hutchinson, an intelligent and charismatic woman from a substantial Boston family, had come to Massachusetts with her husband in 1634 as part of a community led by the minister John Cotton. Hutchinson shared Cotton's belief that the Holy Spirit dwelled within and guided every true believer. And she went further than Cotton in arguing that the faithful could communicate directly with God (as she claimed she herself had done) and that they could win assurance of grace and salvationa direct challenge to the doctrine of predestination. Such teachings (known as the antinomian heresy) were a serious threat to the authority of both the church and the government, which insisted that faith was not open to differing personal interpretations. And Hutchinson served as well as an affront to prevailing assumptions about the proper role of women in Puritan society. She was not a retiring, deferential wife and mother, but a powerful religious figure in her own right (as well as an active midwife).

Hutchinson developed a large following among women (and ultimately also among men) in Boston. As her influence grew, and as she began to deliver open attacks on some members of the clergy, the Massachusetts hierarchy mobilized to stop her. Hutchinson's followers were numerous and influential enough to prevent Winthrop's reelection as governor in 1636; but the next year he returned to office and directed the orthodox ministers to charge her with heresy. In 1638, after a trial at which Winthrop himself presided and at which Hutchinson embarrassed her accusers by displaying a remarkable knowledge of theology, she was convicted of sedition and banished as "a woman not fit for our society." With her family and some other followers, she moved to a point on Narragansett Bay not far from Providence. (Later still, she moved south into New York, where in 1643 she and her family died during an Indian uprising.)

In time, other communities of dissidents arose in Rhode Island. Roger Williams (who, having paid for the land, considered himself the proprietor of the region) was advocating complete freedom of worship and denying that government had any authority at all over religious practice. In 1644, he obtained a charter from Parliament empowering him to establish a single government for the various settlements around Providence. The new government was based on the Massachusetts pattern, but it did not restrict the vote to church members nor tax the people for church support. A royal charter of 1663 confirmed this arrangement and added a guarantee of "liberty in religious concernments." For a time, Rhode Island was the only colony in which all faiths (including Judaism) could exist without interference.

New Hampshire and Maine were established in 1629 when two English proprietors. Captain John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges, divided a grant they had received from the Council for New England along the Piscataqua River and created two separate settlements. Despite lavish promotional efforts, especially by Gorges, few settlers moved into these northern regions until the religious disruptions in Massachusetts Bay. In 1639, John Wheelwright, a disciple of Anne Hutchinson, led some of his fellow dissenters to Exeter, New Hampshire, and other groupsof both dissenting and orthodox Puritans soon followed. The Massachusetts Bay Company tried to extend its authority over this entire northern territory; but after a long legal battle in England, New Hampshire became a separate colony in 1679. Maine remained a part of Massachusetts until 1820.

Settlers and Natives

It was inevitable, perhaps, that the expansion of European society in New England would eventually create serious conflicts with the Indians. In part, that was because of the attitudes of the Puritan settlers, who had from the beginning viewed the natives as "pernicious creatures" who should be either "civilized" by conversion to Christianity and European ways or, failing that, displaced or even exterminated. Occasionally, an exceptional colonial leader would advocate tolerance and respect for the Indian: Roger Williams in Rhode Island; or John Eliot, a missionary who translated the Bible into an Indian language. For the most part, however, the English attitude toward the natives was stern, disapproving, and often brutal, And the potential for conflict was greatly increased by the colonists' insatiable appetite for land and their steady encroachments into territory the natives considered their own.

In 1637, hostilities broke out between English settlers in*the Connecticut Valley and the Pequot Indians of the region, a conflict that ended disastrously for the natives. White frontiersmen marched against a palisaded Pequot stronghold and set it afire. About 400 Indians diedburned to death in the flaming stockade or killed by the white attackers as they attempted to escape. Those who survived were hunted down, captured, and sold as slaves. The Pequot tribe was almost wiped outan early step in a process of displacement and extermination of the tribes that would become a distinctive feature of American history for nearly two centuries.

The bloodiest and most prolonged encounter between whites and Indians in the seventeenth century began in 1675: a conflict that whites would remember for generations as King Philip's War. As in Connecticut nearly forty years before, an Indian tribein this case the Wampanoags, under the leadership of Metacomet, a chieftain known to the white settlers as King Philiprose up in retaliation against the encroachments of the English settlers into what they considered their lands and (more immediately) against the efforts by a colonial government to impose English law on the native tribes. (A court in Plymouth had recently tried and hanged several Wampanoags for murdering a member of their own tribe.)

For over a year, the natives inflicted terror on a string of Massachusetts towns, destroying or depopulating twenty of them and causing the deaths of over 1,000 people (including at least one-sixteenth of the white males in the colony). The war greatly weakened both the society and the economy of Massachusetts. As before, however, the whites ultimately prevailed. Massachusetts leaders recruited guides and spies from among the so-called "praying" Indians of the regionnatives who had been converted to Christianity by missionaries and who had settled in or near the towns of the whites. These new allies helped arrange an ambush in 1676 in which Metacomet was shot and killed. After that the fragile alliance that Metacomet had managed to forge among the local tribes collapsed, and the Europeans were soon able to crush the uprising. Some Wampanoag leaders were executed; others were sold into slavery in the West Indies. The power of the Wampanoags and their allies was forever destroyed.

Yet these victories by the white colonists did not end the danger to their settlements. This was in part because other Indians in other tribes survived, capable of launching future wars. It was also because the New England settlers faced competition not only from the natives but also from the Dutch and the French, who claimed the territory on which some of the outlying settlements were established. The French, in particular, would pose a constant threat to the English and would later support hostile Indians in their attacks on the New England frontier.

The Restoration Colonies

By the end of the 1630s, then, English settlers had established the beginnings of what would eventually become six of the thirteen original states of the American republic: Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. But for nearly thirty years after Lord Baltimore received the charter for Maryland in 1632, the English government launched no additional colonial ventures. It was preoccupied with troubles of its own at home.

The English Civil War

England's problems had begun during the rule of the unpopular James I. James attracted widespread opposition before he died in 1625, but he never came into open conflict with Parliament. His son, Charles I, was not so fortunate. After he dissolved Parliament in 1629 and began ruling as an absolute monarch, he steadily alienated a growing number of his subjects and the members of the powerful Puritan community above all. Finally, desperately in need of money, Charles called Parliament back into session and asked it to levy new taxes. But he antagonized the members by dismissing them twice in two years; and in 1642, they organized a military force, thus launching the English Civil War.

The conflict between the Cavaliers (the supporters of the king) and the Roundheads (the forces of Parliament, who were largely Puritans) lasted seven years. Finally, in 1649, the Roundheads defeated the king's forces, captured Charles himself, andin an action that horrified not only much of continental Europe at the time but future generations of English men and womenbeheaded the monarch. To replace him, they elevated the stern Roundhead leader Oliver Cromwell to the position of "protector," from which he ruled for the next nine years. When Cromwell died in 1658, the Protectorate fell upon hard times. His son and heir proved unable to maintain his authority; and two years later. King Charles II, son of the beheaded monarch, returned from exile and seized the throne.

One result of the Stuart Restoration was the resumption of colonization in America. Charles II quickly began to reward faithful courtiers with grants of land in the New World; and in the twenty-five years of his reign, he issued charters for four additional colonies: Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The new colonies were all proprietary ventures (modeled on Maryland rather than on Virginia and Massachusetts), thus exposing an important change in the nature of American settlement. No longer did private companies take an interest in launching colonies, realizing at last that there were no quick profits to be had in the New World. In their place were emerging ventures with different aims: not so much quick commercial success as permanent settlements that would provide proprietors with land and power.

The Carolinas

Carolina (a name derived from the Latin form of "Charles," Carolinus) was, like Maryland, carved in part from the original Virginia grant. Charles II awarded the territory to a group of eight court favorites, all prominent politicians already active in colonial affairs. In successive charters issued in 1663 and 1665, the eight proprietors received joint title to a vast territory stretching south to the Florida peninsula and west to the Pacific Ocean. Like Lord Baltimore, they received almost kingly powers over their grant.

Also like him, they expected to profit as landlords and land speculators. They reserved tremendous estates for their own development; and they planned to sell or give away the rest in smaller tracts (using a headright system similar to those in Virginia and Maryland) and to collect annual payments as quitrents from the settlers. Although committed Anglicans themselves, they welcomed any settlers they could get, whatever their faith. Indeed, the charter of the colony guaranteed religious freedom to anyone who would worship as a Christian. The proprietors also promised a measure of political freedom: laws were to be made by a representative assembly. With these and other incentives, they hoped to attract settlers from the existing American colonies and thus to avoid the expense of financing expeditions from England.

Their initial efforts to profit from settlement in Carolina failed dismally. Governor Berkeley of Virginia, one of the proprietors, did manage to encourage a number of landless people from his own colony to settle in the area of Carolina just to the south, along Albemarle Sound. But the region was isolated by the Dismal Swamp and had no adequate harbor; and it grew slowly. Further south, there was for a time virtually no growth at all. A few early colonizing ventures were quickly abandoned, and most of the original proprietors soon concluded that the Carolina venture could not succeed. One man, however, persistedAnthony Ashley Cooper, soon to become the earl of Shaftesbury. Cooper convinced his partners that since settlers were not going to flock to Carolina from other parts of North America, the proprietors themselves should finance expeditions to Carolina from England. And in the spring of 1670, the first of these expeditionsa party of 300set out from England. Only 100 people survived the difficult voyage, but those who did established a settlement in the Port Royal area of the Carolina coast. Ten years later they founded a city at the junction of the Ashley and Cooper rivers, which in 1690 became the colonial capital. They called it Charles Town. (It was later renamed Charleston.)

The earl of Shaftesbury wanted a planned and well-ordered community with a uniform pattern of settlement and a clearly defined social order. With the aid of the English philosopher John Locke, he drew up the Fundamental Constitution for Carolina in 1669, a document that was more a response to their analysis of problems in England than a reflection of realities in America. According to this Constitution, the Carolina territory was to be divided into counties of equal size, with each county divided into equal parcels. The largest number of parcels would be distributed among the proprietors themselves (who were to be known as "seigneurs"); a local aristocracy (consisting of lesser nobles known as "landgraves" or "caciques") would receive fewer parcels; and ordinary settlers ("leet-men") would receive less land still. At the bottom of this stratified society would be poor whites, who would have no political rights, and black slaves, whose subjection would be complete. "Every freeman of Carolina," the constitution stated, "shall have absolute power and authority over his Negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever." Proprietors, nobles, and other landholders would have a voice in the colonial parliament in proportion to the size of their landholdings.

In fact, however, Carolina developed along lines quite different from the almost Utopian vision of Shaftesbury and Locke. For one thing, the colony was never really united in anything more than name. The northern and southern regions of the colony remained widely separated and were socially and economically distinct from each other. The northern settlers were mainly backwoods farmers, largely isolated from the outside world, scratching out a meager existence at subsistence agriculture. They developed no important aristocracy and for many years imported virtually no black slaves. In the south, fertile lands and the good harbor at Charles Town promoted a far more prosperous economy and a far more stratified, aristocratic society. There too, however, the carefully planned social order of the Fundamental Constitution largely failed to take root. Settlements grew up rapidly along the Ashley and Cooper rivers, and colonists established a nourishing trade in corn, lumber, cattle, pork, and (beginning in the 1690s) ricewhich was to become the colony's principal commercial crop. Traders from the interior used Charles Town to market furs, hides, and Indian slaves.

Southern Carolina very early developed close ties to the large (and now overpopulated) European colony on the island of Barbados. For many years, Barbados was Carolina's most important trading partner. And during the first ten years of settlement, most of the new settlers in Carolina were Barbadians, some of whom arrived with large groups of black workers and established themselves quickly as substantial landlords. African slavery had taken root on Barbados earlier than in any of the mainland colonies; and these Caribbean migrantstough, uncompromising profit seekersestablished a similar slave-based plantation society in Carolina. (The proprietors, too, encouraged the importation of blacks; four of them had a financial interest in the African slave trade.)

For several decades, Carolina remained one of the most factious of all the English colonies in America. There were tensions between the small farmers of the Albemarle region in the north and the wealthy planters in the south. And in southern Carolina there were conflicts between the rich Barbadians and the smaller landowners around them. After Lord Shaftesbury's death, the proprietors proved unable to establish order; and in 1719, the colonists seized control of the colony from them. Ten years later, the king divided the region into two royal colonies: North and South Carolina.

New Netherland and New York

In 1664, one year after he issued the Carolina charter, Charles II granted to his brother James, the duke of York, all the territory lying between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. Unlike other such grants, however, this one faced a major challenge from prior European claims. Some of the territory presumably belonged to the Massachusetts Bay Company by virtue of the sea-to-sea grant it had secured decades before. A far more serious challenge, however, lay in the Dutch claim to the entire area, and in the existence of Dutch settlements at New Amsterdam and other strategic points.

The emerging conflict between the English and the Dutch in America was part of a larger struggle between the two nations in the seventeenth century arising from their commercial rivalry throughout the world. The English had particular reason for resenting the presence of Dutch settlements in the New World, where they served as a wedge between England's own northern and southern colonies and provided smuggling bases for the Dutch. In 1664, troop-carrying vessels of the English navy, under the command of Richard Nicolls, put in at New Amsterdam and extracted a surrender from the arbitrary and unpopular Dutch governor, Peter Stuyves-ant, who tried but failed to mobilize resistance to the invasion. Under the Articles of Capitulation, the colony surrendered to the British and received in return assurances that the Dutch settlers would not be displaced. Several years later, in 1673, the Dutch reconquered and briefly held their old provincial capital. But in 1674 they lost it again, this time for good.

The duke of York finally possessed New Netherland (which he renamed New York) both on paper and in fact; and he was free to rule virtually as an absolute monarch. But he recognized the problems inherent in governing a society with so diverse a population. New York contained not only Dutch and English but Scandinavians, Germans, French, and a large number of Africans (imported as slaves by the Dutch West India Company); and there were, of course, several different religious faiths among these groups. James made no effort to impose his own Roman Catholicism on the colony. Like other proprietors before him, he delegated powers to a governor and a council. The Duke's Laws, which the first governor, Roger Nicolls, issued, provided for no representative assemblies. (The English Parliament had overthrown and executed James's father, Charles I, and the duke was unwilling to see a similar breed-ground for revolt established in his American lands.) The laws did, however, establish local ernments and guarantee religious toleration.

These concessions failed to satisfy all New York-ers. Many settlers complained about the inequality of property holding and political power. In addition to confirming the great Dutch "patroonships" already in existence (among them, Rensselaerswyck, a vast 700,000 acre empire near Albany), James granted large estates to some of his own political supporters in order to create a class of influential landowners loyal to him. Power in the colony thus remained widely dispersedamong wealthy English landlords, Dutch patroons (who remained for many years an unassimil-ated and powerful minority), fur traders, and the duke's political appointees. Like Carolina, New York would for many years be a highly factious society.

By 1685, when the duke of York ascended the English throne as James II, New York contained about four times as many people (around 30,000) as when he had taken it over some twenty years before. Most of them still lived within the Hudson Valley, close to the river itself, with the largest settlement at its mouth, in the town of New York (formerly New Amsterdam).

Originally, James's claims in America extended south of the Hudson to the Delaware Valley and beyond. But shortly after receiving his charter, he gave a large portion of that land to a pair of political allies, both Carolina proprietors, Sir John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Carteret named the territory New Jersey, after the island in the English Channel on which he had been born. The new proprietors soon found themselves embroiled in a series of political disputes with the leadership of New York; and partly as a result, the venture in New Jersey generated few profits for them. In 1674, Berkeley sold his half interest to two enterprising members of the Society of Friends; and the colony was divided into two jurisdictions: East Jersey and West Jersey. The squabbling (and profitlessness) of New Jersey continued, and the Quaker proprietors of West Jersey began to look instead to the more tranquil, and as yet unsettled, lands to their west. In 1702, the two halves of the colony were again joined and became a single royal colony.

In one respect, at least, the European settlements in New Jersey resembled those in New York (from which much of the population had come). There was enormous ethnic and religious diversity, and there were relatively few efforts by the weak colonial government to impose strict control on the divergent groups in the population. But unlike New York, New Jersey developed no important class of large landowners; most of its residents remained small farmers. Nor did New Jersey (which, unlike New York, had no natural harbor) produce any single important city.

The Quaker Colonies

More than any other colony (except perhaps Massachusetts), Pennsylvania was born out of the efforts of dissenting English Protestants to find a home for their own distinctive social order. The Society of Friends originated in mid-seventeenth-century England and grew into an important force as a result of the preachings of George Fox, a Nottingham shoemaker, whose followers came to be known as Quakers from his admonition to them to "tremble at the name of the Lord." The essence of Fox's teachings was the doctrine of the Inner Light, the illumination from God within each soul, which when rightly heeded could guide human beings along the paths of righteousness. Unlike the Puritans, Quakers rejected the concepts of predestination and original sin. All people had divinity within themselves and need only learn to cultivate if all could attain salvation.

Of all the Protestant sectarians of the time, the Quakers were the most anarchistic and the most democratic. They had no church government except for periodic meetings, at which the congregations were represented on a local, regional, and national basis. They had no traditional church buildings, only meetinghouses. They had no paid clergy, and in their worship they spoke up one by one as the spirit moved them. Disregarding traditional social distinctions, they treated women as equals and addressed one another with the terms "thee" and "thou," words commonly used in speaking to servants and social inferiors. They refused to take oaths. And as confirmed pacifists, they would not take part in wars. The Quakers were unpopular enough as a result of these beliefs and practices, and they increased their unpopularity by occasionally breaking up other religious groups at worship. Many were jailed.

As a result, like the Puritans before them, George Fox and his followers looked to America for asylum. A few of them went to New England. But there (except in Rhode Island), they were greeted with fines, whippings, and banishment; three men and a woman who refused to leave were actually put to death. Others migrated to northern Carolina, and there, as the fastest-growing religious community, they soon were influential in colonial politics. But most Quakers desired a colony of their own, and Fox himself visited America in 1671-1672 to look over the land. As the head of a despised sect, however, he could not get the necessary royal grant without the aid of someone influential at the court. Fortunately for his cause, his teachings had struck the hearts of a number of wealthy and prominent men, one of whom in particular made possible a large-scale effort to realize the Quaker dream.

William Pennwhose father was Sir William Penn, an admiral in the Royal Navy and a landlord of valuable Irish estatesreceived a gentleman's education at his father's expense but could not overcome his mystical inclinations despite his father's discipline. Converted to the doctrine of the Inner Light, the younger Penn took up evangelism and, although always moderate and soft-spoken, was sent repeatedly to prison, where he wrote a powerful tract. No Cross, No Crownthe first of what would eventually be several dozen religious books. With George Fox he visited the European continent and found Quakers there who, like Quakers in England, longed to emigrate to the New World.

Penn turned his attention first to New Jersey, half of which (after 1674) belonged to two fellow Quakers and of which Penn himself became a proprietor. But in 1681, he received from the king an even more valuable grant of land. Penn had inherited his father's Irish lands and also his father's claim to a large debt from the king. Charles II, who possessed more land than cash, paid the debt with a grant of territory between New York and Marylandan area larger than England and Wales combined and one that (unknown to him) contained more value in soil and minerals than any other province of English America. Within this fabulous estate Penn was to have the rights of both landlord and ruler; he was to make token acknowledgement of the feudal suzerainty of the king by the payment of two beaver skins a year. At the king's insistence, the territory was to be named Pennsylvania, after Penn's late father.

Like most other American proprietors, Penn intended to make money from land sales and quitrents and from private property to be worked for him. He promptly sold several large tracts to rich Quaker associates and one tract of 15,000 acres to a group of German immigrants. Through his informative and honest advertisingas in his pamphlet entitled A Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania, which was translated into several European languagesPenn made Pennsylvania the best-known and most cosmopolitan of all the colonies. Settlers flocked to the province from England and the Continent, joining a substantial group of Swedes and Finns who were already there. But Penn and his descendants were to find almost hopeless the task of collecting quitrents, and the colony never became a great source of profit for them. (Indeed, Penn himself, near the end of his life, was imprisoned in England for debt and died in poverty in 1718.)

Penn, however, was much more than a mere real estate promoter, and he undertook in Pennsylvania what he called a "Holy Experiment." Colonies, he said, were the "seeds of nations," and he proposed to plant in his realm the seeds of brotherly love. He devised a liberal Frame of Government with a representative assembly. He personally sailed to Pennsylvania in 1682 to oversee the laying out, between the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers, of the city he named Philadelphia ("Brotherly Love"), which with its streets laid out in a grid, like those of Charles Town, helped set the pattern for most later cities in America. Penn believed, as had Roger Williams, that the land belonged to the Indians, and he was careful to see that they were reimbursed for it, as well as to see that they were not debauched by the fur traders' alcohol. Indians honored Penn as a rarity, an honest white man, and during his lifetime the colony had no major conflicts with the natives. More than any other English colony, Pennsylvania prospered from the outsetbecause of Penn's successful recruitment of emigrants, because of his thoughtful planning, and because of the region's mild climate and fertile soil.

In 1701, shortly before he departed for England for the last time, Penn agreed to a Charter of Liberties for the colony that established a representative assembly (consisting, alone among the English colonies, of only one house) and that greatly limited the authority of the proprietor. The charter also permitted "the lower counties" of the colony to establish their own representative assembly. The three counties did so in 1703 and as a result became, in effect, a separate colony: Delaware. Until the Revolution, however, it continued to have the same governor as Pennsylvania.

The Founding of Georgia

The establishment of the Restoration proprietary colonies expanded English settlement along the length of the Atlantic coast from New England to South Carolina. Although the population of each colony continued to grow, pushing the frontier of settlement steadily westward, for several decades there were no attempts to enlarge the English realm in America farther north or south. Not until 1733 did another new colony emerge: Georgia, the last English colony on the mainland of what would become the United States.

Georgia was unique in its origins. It was founded neither by a corporation (as Massachusetts and Virginia had been) nor by a wealthy proprietor (as in the case of Maryland, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, and others). Its guiding purpose was neither the pursuit of profit nor the desire for a religious refuge. Instead, Georgia emerged from the work of a group of unpaid trustees. And while its founders were not uninterested in economic success, their primary motives were military and philanthropic. They wanted to erect a military barrier against the Spaniards on the southern border of English America; and they wanted to provide a refuge for the impoverished, a place where English men and women without prospects at home could begin a new life.

The need for a military buffer between South Carolina and the Spanish settlements in Florida was growing urgent in the first years of the eighteenth century. There had been tensions between the English and the Spanish ever since the first settlement at Jamestown; and although in a treaty of 1676 Spain had recognized England's title to lands already occupied by English settlers, conflict between the two colonizing powers continued. In 1686, Spanish forces from Florida attacked and destroyed an outlying South Carolina settlement south of the treaty line. And when Spain and England resumed their war in Europe in 1701, hostilities erupted in America again. The war ended in 1713, but another European conflict with repercussions for the New World was continually expected.

General James Oglethorpe, a hero of the late war with Spain, was therefore keenly aware of the military advantages of an English colony south of the Carolinas. Yet his interest in settlement rested even more on his philanthropic hopes. As head of a parliamentary committee investigating English prisons, he had grown appalled by the plight of honest debtors rotting in confinement. Such prisoners, and other poor English people in danger of succumbing to a similar fate, could, he believed, become the farmer-soldiers of the new colony in America.

A 1732 charter from King George II transferred the land between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers to the administration of Oglethorpe and his fellow trustees for a period of twenty-one years. In their colonization policies they were to keep in mind the needs of military security. Landholdings were lim
ited in size so as to make settlement compact. Blacks free or slaveand Roman Catholics were excluded, to forestall the danger of wartime insurrection or collusion with enemy coreligionists. And the Indian trade was strictly regulated, with rum prohibited, to lessen the risk of Indian complications.

Oglethorpe himself led the first expedition, which built a fortified town at the mouth of the Savannah River in 1733 and later constructed additional forts south of the Altamaha. Only a few debtors were released from jail and sent to Georgia, but hundreds of needy tradesmen and artisans from England and Scotland, and religious refugees from Switzerland and Germany, were brought to the new colony at the expense of the trustees, who raised funds from charitable individuals as well as from Parliament. Although other settlers came at their own expense, immigrants were not attracted in large numbers during the early years. Newcomers generally preferred to settle in South Carolina, where there were no laws against big plantations, slaves, and rum. Before the twenty-one years of the trusteeship expired, those restrictions were repealed in Georgia, and after 1750, the new colony developed along lines similar to those of South Carolina.

The establishment of Georgia completed the political division of North America by the English. The thirteen colonies did not constitute a single nation; nor did they often think of themselves as part of a single society. Yet despite the radical variations among them, all shared one important characteristic:

They were all subject to the authority of the British crown. Ultimately, that common political bond would force the diverse societies of the colonies into a fateful alliance.

The Development of Empire

The English colonies in America had originated as quite separate projects; and for the most part they grew up independent of one another, with little thought that they belongedor ought to belongto a unified imperial system. Yet the growing commercial success of the colonial ventures was by the mid-seventeenth century producing pressure in England for a more rational, uniform structure to the empire. Reorganization, many claimed, would increase the profitability of the colonies and the power of the English government to supervise them. Above all, it would contribute to the success of the mercantile system, which had become the foundation of the English economy.

The Navigation Acts

One of the arguments for colonization in the first place had been that colonies would increase the wealth of the mother country and lessen its dependence on other nations. According to the theory of mercantilism, English prosperity depended on increasing exports to foreigners and decreasing imports from them. Colonies would help by providing a market for England's manufactured goods and a source of supply for raw materials it could not produce at home. To benefit fully from its new possessions, England would have to exclude foreigners (as Spain had done) from its colonial trade.

In theory, the mercantile system offered benefits to the colonies as well by providing them with a ready market for the raw materials they produced and a source for the manufactured goods they did not. But some colonial goods were not suitable for export to England; the mother country itself produced wheat, flour, and fish and had no interest in importing them from America. And colonists often found it more profitable to deal with the Spanish, French, or Dutch even in the goods that England was willing to import. Thus a considerable trade soon developed between the English colonies and non-English markets.

For a time, the English government made no serious efforts to restrict this challenge to the principles of mercantilism; but gradually it began passing laws to regulate colonial trade. During Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, in 1650 and 1651, Parliament passed laws to keep Dutch ships out of the English colonies. Under Charles II, after the Restoration, the government adopted three Navigation Acts. The first of them, in 1660, closed the colonies to all trade except that carried in English ships. This law also required certain items, among them tobacco, to be exported from the colonies only to England or to an English possession. The second act, in 1663, provided that all goods sent from Europe to the colonies had to pass through England on the way, and that they could be subject to English taxation in the process. And the third act, in 1673, was a response to the widespread evasion of the new export controls by the colonial shipperswho frequently left port claiming to be heading for another English colony but then sailed to a foreign port. The new act imposed duties on the coastal trade among the English colonies, and it provided for the appointment of customs officials to enforce the Navigation Acts. These acts, with later amendments and additions, were to form the legal basis of England's mercantile system in Amerca for a century.

The Dominion of New England

Enforcement of the Navigation Acts required not only the stationing of customs officials in America but the establishment of an agency in England to oversee colonial affairs. Except in Virginiawhich became a royal colony in 1624, giving the king the right to appoint the governorall the colonial governments operated largely independently of the crown. They had governors chosen by the proprietors or by the colonists themselves, and representative assemblies that were claiming increasing power for themselves. The king could not, therefore, rely on the colonial governmentsleast of all on Massachusetts, which behaved much like an independent republic and even usurped the sovereign's prerogative of coining money. Massachusetts merchants were particularly blatant in their violations of the Navigation Acts,

After a royal commission visited the Bay Colony and reported to London the extent of the colony's illegal business, Charles II acted to increase his control of Massachusetts in particular and the American empire in general. In 1675 he formed a special committee, the Lords of Trade (consisting of some of his official advisers on the Privy Council), to make recommendations for imperial reform. And following their advice to increase his control over the colonial governments, he moved in 1679 to deny Massachusetts authority over New Hampshire and chartered a separate, royal colony whose governor he would himself appoint.

The king wanted to make Massachusetts a royal colony as well. but he needed legal grounds to revoke its corporate charter. He soon found them. When the Lords of Trade ordered Massachusetts to enforce the Navigation Acts, the General Court replied that under the terms of the colony's charter Parliament had no power to legislate for the colony. And when the Lords of Trade sent a customs official to Boston to supervise the enforcement of the acts, the General Court not only refused to recognize him but arrested the local agents he appointed. Finally the king began legal proceedings that led, in 1684, to revocation of the charter.

Charles IPs brother James II, who succeeded to the throne in 1685, went much further. He created a single Dominion of New England, which combined Massachusetts with the rest of the New England colonies and later with New York and New Jersey as well. He eliminated the existing assemblies within the new dominion, and appointed a single governor, Sir Edmund Andros, to supervise the entire region from Boston. Andros was an able administrator but a stern and tactless man; his rigid enforcement of the Navigation Acts and his brusque dismissal of the colonists' claims to the "rights of Englishmen" made him quickly and thoroughly unpopular.

The "Glorious Revolution"

James II was not only losing friends in America; he was making powerful enemies in England by attempting to exercise autocratic control over Parliament and the courts and by appointing his fellow Catholics to high office. By 1688, his popular support had all but vanished; and Parliament was emboldened to invite his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange, ruler of the Netherlands and Protestant champion of Europe, to assume the throne. James II (perhaps remembering what had happened to his father, Charles I) offered no resistance and fled to France. William and Mary became joint sovereigns. By this "Glorious Revolution," as the English called it, the long struggle between king and Parliament was at last largely settled, in Parliament's favor,

The Glorious Revolution had immediate consequences in the colonies. Bostonians, hearing of the challenge to James II in England, moved quickly to overthrow his American viceroy. A mob set out after Andros and other royal officials. Andros escaped but later surrendered and was imprisoned. The Massachusetts leaders hoped to win back their old corporate charter. Their hopes were not realized. While the new sovereigns made no effort to retain the dominion government James II had established, they did combine Massachusetts with Plymouth and establish it as a royal colony in 1691. Under the new charter, they themselves appointed the governor; but they restored the General Court and abolished the religious test for voting and officeholding.

Andros had been governing New York through a lieutenant governor. Captain Francis Nicholson, who enjoyed the support of the wealthy merchants and fur traders of the provincethe same groups who had dominated the colony for years. Other less favored colonistsfarmers, mechanics, small traders, and shopkeepershad a long accumulation of grievances against both Nicholson and his allies. When they heard the news of James's fall in England and Andros's arrest in Boston, rebellious militiamen seized the New York City fort, and Lieutenant Governor Nicholson fled to England.

The leadership of the New York rebels fell to Jacob Leisler, a German immigrant and prosperous merchant who had married into a prominent Dutch family but had never won acceptance as one of the colony's ruling class. Leisler proclaimed himself the new head of government in New York; and when dispatches arrived from the king and queen addressed to "Our Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chiefofour Province of New York, or in his absence to such as for the time being take care to keep the peace and administer the laws," he claimed that they were intended for him. For two years, he governed the colony; but in 1691, William and Mary appointed a new governor. Leisler resisted this challenge to his authority; and although he soon yielded, his hesitation allowed his old political enemies to charge him with treason. He and one of his sons-in-law were hanged, drawn, and quartered.

In Maryland, the people at first assumed (erroneously) that the Catholic Lord Baltimore had sided with the Catholic James II and had opposed the accession of William and Mary. So in 1689, an old opponent of the proprietor's government, John Coode, started a new revolt as head of an organization calling itself "An Association in Arms for the Defense of the Protestant Religion, and for Asserting the Right of King William and Queen Mary to the Province of Maryland and All the English Dominions." The insurgents drove out Lord Baltimore's officials and, through an elected convention, chose a committee to run the government. In 1691, William and Mary used this opportunity to deprive the proprietor of his authority and to transform Maryland into a royal colony. (It became a proprietary colony again in 1715, after the fifth Lord Baltimore joined the Anglican church.)

Thus the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England touched off revolutions, mostly bloodless, in several colonies. Under the new king and queen, the representative assemblies that had been abolished were revived, and the scheme for colonial unification from above was abandoned. What was not abandoned, however, was the English government's commitment to increase its control over its colonial possessions. The new sovereigns made several provinces into royal colonies in which they appointed the governor and over which they had potentially greater direct control than in the past. Still, the events of the 1690s seemed to the colonists to confirm their belief that they had certain rights that England could not violate. That belief would survive to help shape their responses to the transformation of the empire in the eighteenth century.

 

 


 

 



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